Brittany and Drew Brees announced today the creation of The NOLA Pickleball Fest, an annual event benefiting the Brees Dream Foundation. The inaugural event will be held August 10-13, 2023, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Brees and the staff of the Brees Dream Foundation have been working closely with local tourism leaders at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and New Orleans & Company, as well as national companies Joola and The Kitchen, to organize all aspects of the event.
“Brittany and I could not be more excited to bring the first annual NOLA Pickleball Fest to New Orleans,” says Drew Brees. Combining one of the fastest growing and most enjoyable sports alongside a city that knows how to host a party will make this one of the premier events of the summer. It will be great food, music, events, and plenty of pickleball all inside the Convention Center, as we crown amateur champions and raise proceeds for the Brees Dream Foundation that will go towards our ongoing efforts in New Orleans.”
The NOLA Pickleball Fest (“The NOLA”) benefiting the Brees Dream Foundation is a unique, festival-style pickleball tournament featuring 24 tournament quality PickleRoll courts, live music, a celebrity exhibition match featuring Drew Brees, VIP experiences and much more. The NOLA will have three divisions of round robin play: women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles for skill levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0+. There are two brackets to compete in: Open and 40 yrs. old and over. Featured matches will be played on a center court with grandstand seating as well as Kern Studio Mardi Gras floats for VIP viewing. Join us for an unforgettable experience and the ultimate pickleball party. To sign up or for more information, visit www.drewbrees.com.
“As pickleball participation continues to skyrocket, we’re honored and excited to be working with Drew and his team to create an annual pickleball festival that creates tourism for a higher purpose,” said Jay Cicero, President/CEO of the Sports Foundation. “The Brees Dream Foundation will distribute funds raised from the event to partner charitable organizations along the Gulf Coast. Given the combination of the sport’s popularity and charitable aspect of NOLA Pickleball Fest, it will surely be a hit among amateur and seasoned Pickleball players alike.”
“When it comes to sports, New Orleans is known for hosting iconic championship moments. With our singular, authentic culture and welcoming people, 26,0000 hotel rooms within two miles of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and unmatched hospitality, New Orleans is truly Built to Host,” said Walter J. Leger III, President & CEO of New Orleans & Company, the official destination sales, and marketing organization for the New Orleans tourism industry. “Crowds have always been drawn to New Orleans for sporting events of all types and sizes and now it is an honor to add the annual NOLA Pickleball Fest. This event will not only provide a critical summertime tourism boost for the New Orleans economy, but also help the entire community served by the Brees Dream Foundation.”
“The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is delighted to welcome the inaugural NOLA Pickleball Fest to New Orleans this August,” said Convention Center President Michael J. Sawaya. “Our involvement with NOLA Pickleball supports our mission to host events that positively impact the local economy. With the passion of the Brees Dream Foundation and the diligent support of local tourism leaders, there is no doubt the tournament will grow into the best tournament in the nation and benefit our community for years to come.”
Pickleball originated in the Pacific Northwest in the 1960s and combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It is the fastest-growing sport in the United States with annual increases of millions of people playing, according to a 2023 participation report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals.