OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A massive professional pickleball tournament took place at Elite Tennis and Wellness over the weekend.
The Professional Pickleball Association event attracted more than 1,000 competitors and fans to Overland Park.
“The fact that the game is such an easy game to play, but it’s a hard game to master, I think brings excitement to it,” Visit Overland Park President Warren Wilkinson said.
More than 1,100 players from 42 states and 4 countries played in the 4-day PPA tournament.
“We have 25 stops this year, $5 million in prize money, 65 signed pros and we do thousands and thousands of registrants throughout the year for the tournaments that we hold,” Director of Content for the PPA Hannah Johns said.
Local player Dylan Frazier started playing pickleball seven years ago and said it was love at first swing. He played in Sunday’s finals and hopes to turn his passion for the sport into a full-time career.
“Like a lot of people, I think we got hooked right away,” Frazier said. “This is the closest tournament to where I grew up in Columbia, Missouri. So normally, I’m flying to all these different tournaments, but this time I was able to drive here. Got the family here from Kansas City and Missouri, and friends from St. Louis.”
The weekend’s sold-out tournament is a golden ticket event for the PPA, which means winning players will automatically go on to finals in Dallas in November.
“Not only is the stands full, but they appreciate the quality and the level of play,” Wilkinson said. “But this has been a real impact for OP, you know we’re estimated over $1.4 million in economic impact over the last four days.”
The PPA is coming back to the metro in 2024 for round 2. Johns said they’ll announce those dates sometime this fall.
Visit OP will also host the US Youth Midwest Championships at Schwers Soccer Complex in 2024 and 2025. They expect those events to bring in another $8 million dollars for the local economy.