East Naples Community Park to host the 2016 US OPEN Pickleball Championships Event to be held April 26-May 1, 2016

NAPLES, Fla. (April 15, 2015) --- The 2016 US OPEN Pickleball Championships will be held at East Naples Community Park in Naples from April 26-May 1, 2016.  This weeklong event will showcase the top professional and amateur pickleball players from the United States and around the world, says Rob Wells, Collier County Senior Sports Marketing Manager.  

“Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and this will be the first event of this magnitude for the sport,” Wells said. “Modeled after tennis’ U.S. Open, this event will feature a championship court complete with stadium seating and luxury box seats to watch both a professional open bracket as well as amateur brackets broken down by age and skill level.”
Pickleball was invented in 1965, but didn’t go main stream until 2008 when seniors discovered it and it soared in popularity. Now it’s one of the fastest growing sports in America. Sixty-eight percent of pickleball players are over the age of 60 and most have turned to the sport due to injuries or other limitations. However, in the last couple of years, the game has seen a surge in the youth demographic. Since 2010 the amount of pickleball facilities is up 62 percent and the USA Pickleball Association’s membership has risen 64 percent.  It is now estimated that 2.5 million people currently play pickleball with that number projected to hit 8 million by 2018.  

April 2016’s US OPEN Pickleball Championship will have a cash purse of $20,000 and is expected to draw 1,000 participants and 10,000 spectators.  Additionally, the economic impact of this event is projected to top $500,000 and bring in more than 500 hotel room nights.

The US OPEN Pickleball Championship will be produced and nationally broadcasted on the Tennis Channel reaching more than 40 million viewers.

“It has been great working with all of our partners to make this event happen in Naples,” Wells said. “The US OPEN Pickleball Championship has been an outstanding partner as well as the Collier County Parks and Recreation Department. We are all working hard to make this is a special week for the players, families, and fans coming to Naples.”

More information about the weeklong championships will be available as the event nears.

About Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB    
 The Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the official tourism marketing and management agency for Collier County, Florida, known as Florida’s Paradise Coast. The CVB provides information and assistance for travel media, group meeting and event planners, tour operators, travel agents, and sports event organizers. It is funded entirely by the Collier County tourist development tax collected by hotels, short term vacation rentals and campgrounds. No local property taxes are used to fund the CVB or its marketing campaigns and tourism industry support activities. For more information on sports tourism marketing, call 239-252-6293. Follow the destination on Facebook at  Athletes in Paradise or at ParadiseCoast.com.



Rob Wells
Naples Marco Island and Everglades CVB Sports Tourism
Sr. Sports Marketing Manager

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