Naples set for first-ever U.S. Open in Pickleball
More than 1,000 Pickleball players are expected to convene for the first-ever U.S. Open Pickleball Championships set for April 26-May 1 at East Naples Community Park. Minto Communities has signed on as title sponsor for the next three years, with the goal to make the tournament an ongoing annual event.
“It’s the perfect partnership,” USOPC founder and President Terri Graham says about Minto’s involvement. “Minto’s target audience is our target audience,” she adds. “Sixty-eight percent of Pickleball players are over age 55. There is a perfect correlation between our audience and Minto’s homebuyers.”
Isles of Collier Preserve east of Naples and TwinEagles in North Naples are among the developer’s Southwest Florida communities. “We anticipated the growing popularity of this sport and have included Pickleball courts in our newest communities,” William Bullock, senior vice president for the developer, says.
Considered by many to be America’s fastest growing sport, Pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. Two, three or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball — similar to a wiffle ball — over a net.
The inaugural tournament will have divisions for men, women, mixed, junior and wheelchair players. VIP seating, parties and live entertainment, fund-raising activities and a Kids Day are also planned.
Ms. Graham notes that organizers estimate 10,000 spectators will attend the championships.
For more information, including details about registering as a participant, visit usopenpickeballchampionship.com.