2017 Minto U.S. OPEN PICKLEBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Friday, April 21 at 11:30 a.m.
East Naples Community Park, 3500 Thomasson Drive, Naples FL 34112
WHO: Tournament officials, dignitaries, athletes, students
Minto U.S. OPEN Pickleball Championships founders Terri Graham and Chris Evon
Tournament event director Jim Ludwig
Collier County Commissioners Donna Fiala, Penny Taylor
Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau tourism executive director Jack Wert, tourism and sports marketing staff
Collier Parks & Recreation Director Barry Williams and staff
Bill Bullock, title sponsor Minto Communities
Nationally ranked pro pickleball players including 2016 US Open Pickleball Champions Simone Jardim, now with the US OPEN Pickleball Academy in Naples; and Kyle Yates, a favorite to win medals in 2017
100 Manatee Middle School students watch pros play, then get lessons on how to play pickleball
WHAT: Ribbon cutting & press conference to open 2nd annual U.S. OPEN Pickleball Championships
WHEN: 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m. – Press Conference
12:50 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Pro Player Exhibition on the Zing Zang Championship Court
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – 100 Manatee Middle School students learn to play pickleball
11:50 – Welcome by Terri Graham, founder of Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships
12:00 – Bill Bullock, VP of Minto Communities, tournament title sponsor
12:10 – Barry Williams, Collier County Parks & Recreation, improved park facilities, etc.
12:20 – Jack Wert, Collier Tourism, on the economic impact through tourism of the event
12:30 – Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala
12:40 – Collier County Commissioner Penny Taylor
12:50 – Wrap up and start of Pro Player Exhibition on Zing Zang Championship Court – Photo Op! ‘
12:50-1:30 – Individual interviews with dignitaries, athletes
12:30 – 2:00 – school kids learn to play the game – Photo Op!
WHERE: East Naples Community Park, 3500 Thomasson Drive, Naples, FL 34112
WHY: To provide insight into the tournament, the athletes, the sport and the impact of the event on the Collier County community. This is the largest tournament in the history of the sport of pickleball
MEDIA PARKING: Reserved media parking on the right side when entering the park. All media members must show a current media I.D. to receive a media credential that will give them access throughout the week.
BACKGROUND: Close to 1,300 athletes will compete on 46 courts at East Naples Community Park in Naples April 23rd through 29th (30th is rain date) for prestige and $35,000 in prize money in the 2nd annual U.S. OPEN Pickleball Championships, while thousands of fans descend on the area, filling more than 3,000 hotel rooms in advance of the courtside action. Pickleball is one of America’s fastest growing recreational sports. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) estimates there are more than 3 million people in the U.S. that play pickleball. Collier County tourism officials and pickleball championship promoters hope to make Naples and Collier County “ground zero” for pickleball.
CBS Sports Network will be onsite on Saturday, April 29, to cover the pro mixed, men's and women's finals. The program will air on May 19 and 26 on CBSSN.
East Naples Community Park, the site of the event, has 39 pickleball courts surrounding the Zing Zang Championship Court, where high visibility matches will be played. An additional nine courts are available at nearby Avalon School, giving the East Naples area a total of 48 pickleball courts.
Tournament Trivia: The 2016 event, in addition to hosting between 10,000 and 12,000 spectators (more are expected this year), brought a $2.5 million economic boost to the Naples area, according to the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitor's Bureau. It was also named a winner in Sports Destination Management magazine's annual awards program, Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism.
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. Event director and local pickleball ambassador Jim Ludwig is also instrumental to the championships. In addition, Spirit Promotions formed the US OPEN Pickleball Academy headlined by Minto US OPEN Champion Simone Jardim. The Academy produces programs, pickleball instruction and skills clinics.
Information on the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships is available on the event's website, usopenpickleballchampionship.com, where visitors can also sign up for e-mail updates about the tournament.
Stay in Touch: Keep up with the US OPEN Pickleball Championships:
On the web: http://usopenpickleballchampionship.com/
On Twitter: @usopenpicklebal
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usopenpickleball