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Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships Begin This Week in Naples

17 Apr, 2018


Event Brought in Nearly $5M in 2017

The Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships Powered by Margaritaville, a world-class, international competition, return to East Naples Community Park in Naples, Florida, from April 21-April 28, 2018. This tournament, the biggest in the sport’s history, comes into its third year ready to break last year’s records – with plenty of room to spare.

Those who have not yet experienced pickleball, one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S., with more than 2.8 million players, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, will want to attend the upcoming event.

The inaugural 2016 Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships, exceeded organizers’ expectations, with more than 800 athletes coming from 39 states and seven countries. This 2017 event had a sell-out field of 1,200 athletes, drawing from more countries and more states.

This year’s event sold out in all registration categories in only three hours, something no other racquet or paddle sport – and few other sports of any kind – can claim.

“We are really excited about this year’s Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships,” stated Terri Graham, the event’s founder. “Not only do we have another sellout with more than 2,000 registered, but we have a waitlist of over 200 people. Our spectator seats are filling up too!”

The competition will include singles, doubles and mixed doubles play in a variety of skill and age groups. Some of the highlights of this year’s competition include the following:

  • A wide variety of ages represented: The youngest player is 10 and one is over 91.

  • And people are traveling to Naples from all over: Players this year represent 17 countries and 47 states. The player traveling the greatest distance is coming from Mumbai, India – a distance of 8,750 miles.

  • The opportunity to see if last year’s Triple Crown winners (Simone Jardim and Jennifer Dawson) can repeat: Last year was the first time each of these two players won three individual titles – Simone in Women’s Pro Singles, Women’s Pro Doubles and Mixed Pro Doubles; and Jennifer in Women’s Senior Pro Singles, Women’s Senior Pro Doubles and Mixed Senior Pro Doubles.

  • A chance to find out why pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America: the sport, played on a court with a solid paddle, uses skills from tennis, badminton and ping-pong. Although it has gained a tremendous following among all age groups, its strongest growth area is players age 50 and up who are moving to the sport from tennis, since pickleball offers the chance to use similar skills on a smaller court, with less wear and tear on joints.

  • National television: The event will be covered by CBS Sports Network and live streamed on CBS Sports Live from April 25-28.

In addition to the title sponsor, Minto Communities, and powered by sponsor, Margaritaville, Graham said this year there are more than 30 sponsors for the event, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ilovepickles.org, Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix, Pickleball Central, Gamma Sports, California Sports Surfaces-DecoTurf, Paddletek, Head Sports, Franklin, Headsweats and Dura Pickleballs.

East Naples Community Park, the site of the event, has 48 pickleball courts surrounding the Zing Zang Championship Court, where high-visibility matches will be played. All courts were recently upgraded and host the highest level of play.

The event is an economic boom for Collier County, bringing in approximately 11,000 spectators and 1,300 participants, resulting in an economic impact of $4,900,000  in 2017. For the second consecutive year, the event was named a winner in Sports Destination Management Magazine’s annual awards program, Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism.

Background Information:

Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships: The Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships is organized by Spirit Promotions, LLC, a company formed by Terri Graham, president, and Chris Evon, executive director, in 2015.Spirit Promotions also consults with tennis clubs and park districts on increasing revenue dollars by adding pickleball courts and effective programming to their business model. In addition, Spirit Promotions runs the US OPEN Pickleball Academy directed by Simone Jardim.  The Academy under Simon’s direction produces programs for pickleball instruction, including skill clinics, lesson packages and multi-day destination camps.

Information on the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships is available on the event’s website, usopenpickleball.com, where visitors can also sign up for e-mail updates about the tournament. For sponsor or other information, e-mail Terri Graham at terri@usopenpickleball.com.

Sponsors: The Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships is a success in part because of the generosity and support of its sponsors. These include the following:

  • Minto Communities: Minto Communities returns as the title sponsor of the event. The company offers new homes on the Isles of Collier, many of which are adjacent to the East Naples Community Park. Minto Homes also has four private pickleball courts for residents’ use.

  • Margaritaville: Margaritaville came aboard this year as the Powered by sponsor for the event. The Jimmy Buffet-created brand long associated with vacation and leisure is also a proud sponsor of the Margaritaville License to Chill Lounge at the Minto US OPEN. 

  • Sponsors with Official Products of the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships:

Official Ball: Pickleball Inc.’s DuraFast 40 Pickleball

Official Paddle: Paddletek

Official Grip: GAMMA

Official Court Surface: DecoTurf

Official Headgear: Headsweats

Official Footwear: HEAD

Official Starter Set, Glove and Bag: Franklin

Official Licensed Merchandise: Kitch Pickleball

Official Volunteer Program: I Love Pickles.org

Official Insurance Agency: Harbour Insurance

 

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods : This Year, Dick’s will present the Dick’s Sporting Goods Championship Celebration, taking place on April 28, with events including Pro Finals in Men’s, Women’s and Mixed; Skill Level finals in various age groups; Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair; and Juniors (including Boys, Girls and Mixed).these matches are not part of the Celebration on the Zing Zang Court Note: This event is sold out on Saturday night, and only limited tickets will be available at the event.

  • Tier I Sponsors: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau (Florida’s Paradise Coast); ZingZang; Margaritaville; Paddletek; Onix; Franklin

  • Tier II Sponsors: Monarch Pickleball; Pickleball Central; Gamma Pickleball; Selkirk Sport; HEAD; I love Pickles.org

  • Tier IV Sponsor: Engage Pickleball; Gearbox; Baseline Racket Sports

  • Tier V Sponsors: CIBC Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management; Headsweats; Naples Botanical Gardens; Germain Toyota of Naples; California Sports Surfaces

  • Tier VI Sponsors:  Pickleball Crazy; preppyplayer.com; ProLite

  • Honorable Partners: Council of Collier County; Pickleball Magazine; Pickleball Channel; IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association) PT (PickleballTournaments.com); Physicians Regional Healthcare System

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