Pickleball Capital of the World to Host Nearly 3,000 Athletes | Sports Destination Management

Pickleball Capital of the World to Host Nearly 3,000 Athletes

Apr 05, 2022

The most prestigious event in pickleball is back and bigger than ever, with a record number of players, the largest prize purse in US OPEN history, and a world-class field of players unmatched in the sport. Nearly 3,000 pickleball players will head to Naples, Fla.- “The Pickleball Capital of the World”—April 23-30 seeking the most prestigious title in the sport at the 2022 Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships powered by Margaritaville.

Known as the “Biggest Pickleball Party in the World™” for the electric atmosphere that pulsates through East Naples Community Park—the largest permanent pickleball facility in the world with 64 courts including the world-famous Zing Zang Championship Court. The event will attract a record 25,000 spectators and a record 2,800-plus players from 49 states and 30 countries, ranging in age from 8 to 87. Players will play more than 5,000 matches for a US OPEN record prize purse of $100,000. 

Pickleball players and fans who can’t make it to Naples for the week-long celebration, can watch the men’s and women’s pro doubles finals live on CBS Sports Network on April 30 from 7-9 pm ET. The tournament will also be streamed on Pickleball Channel from April 23-29. 

The Minto US OPEN isn't just another pickleball tournament—it’s a whole, immersive pickleball experience. The energy, spirit of community, pure joy and fun are unlike any other pickleball event. And to prove it, Racquet Sports Industry Magazine, named it the 2021 Pickleball Tournament of the Year in its January 2022 edition.

“This year’s Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships will continue to grow and elevate the sport,” says Terri Graham, the event’s founder. “Other events have adopted many of our most popular features, but no other tournament offers the complete experience like the US OPEN. As they soak up the atmosphere in the Vendor Village, Fan Zone, Landshark Beer Garden, the Zing Zang Championship Court and enjoy our tribute to athletes around the world during our one-of-a-kind International Flag ceremony, pickleball players will know why we promise they’ll have the time of their life.” 

The Best Professionals in Pickleball

Nearly 1000 total gold, silver and bronze medals are up for grabs this year across more than 150 age and skill groups. And last year’s winners are hungry for more. Returning to the courts will be 2021 women pro standouts including Catherine Parenteau, Callie Smith, Simone Jardim, Lucy Kovalova, Jennifer Dawson, Cammy MacGregor. On the men’s side, the field includes Ben Johns, Collin Johns, Adam Stone, Dekel Bar, Dayne Gingrich, Tyson McGuffin, Riley Newman, and JW Johnson.

Additionally, former professional athletes from other sports, who have since been bitten by the pickleball bug will compete, including NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry, Tennis Hall of Famer Gigi Fernandez, and former Wimbledon champion JoAnne Russell.

A Format Fit for a Champion

The Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships has set the standard for competition format. It introduced the US OPEN format—which means despite being a double-elimination tournament, once you lose, the best you can do is claim a bronze medal—so a US Open Champion is always undefeated.

The US OPEN also introduced the Triple Crown—awarding a bonus for the pro and senior pro player who wins pro singles, pro doubles and pro mixed doubles. Additionally, the innovative pro-split age doubles which pairs a pro (under age 50) and senior pro (over 50) has become a favorite among players and fans.

Hospitality for Player and Fans – US OPEN STYLE

No matter if you are a professional, amateur, fan or sponsor, everyone is treated like royalty at the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships. The Fan Zone, Player Village and a multitude of vendors are cued up and ready to serve every need, while the Zing Zang Championship Court serves up a level of excitement unmatched in the sport. Returning guests will find plenty of new options, including a new Welcome Center, complete with bathrooms and showers. There’s a new state-of-the-art jumbo video wall in the FAN ZONE. And the Skechers Pro Club Lounge offers hospitality for top pro players and invited guests.

Powerful Line-Up of Sponsors and Partners

The event is supported by more than 40 sponsors, partners, and official products, including Minto Communities, its title sponsor since 2016; presenting sponsor Margaritaville, the Jimmy Buffet-created brand; and Florida’s Paradise Coast-Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.

The event is an economic boom for Collier County, Fla, resulting in an economic impact of $9.4 million in 2021. Collier County offers sports in paradise, beautiful beaches, world class restaurants and moreThe US OPEN will once again benefit two charities: Kiwanis which services children by fighting hunger, improving literacy and offering guidance as well as St. Matthews House, “the main food concessionaire for the US OPEN” - a social enterprise of St. Matthews House, which works to fight homelessness, hunger, substance abuse and poverty in Southwest Florida.

Background Information:

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, with more than 4.8 million players in the U.S. in 2021, up from 4.2 million the previous year and continuing to accelerate, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. It is easy to learn and fun to play, with a population of athletes coming from a variety of other sports, including tennis, racquetball, ping pong, badminton, and squash. Watch the video featuring highlights from previous years’ tournaments here.

The Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships is organized by Spirit Promotions, LLC, a company formed by Terri Graham and Chris Evon in 2015. Information on the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships is available on the event’s website as well as social media platforms at www.usopenpickleball.com and on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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