Grand Park Sports Campus is scheduled to host a five-day pickleball event in January that could bring more than 5,000 people to Westfield.
The Association of Pickleball Players announced Tuesday that its inaugural APP Collegiate Championships and Midwest Open will take place Jan. 3-7 at the 378,000-square-foot Grand Park Events Center.
The events center will have 28 courts plus a championship court for the event, along with stadium seating, VIP seating, and a bar and restaurant overlooking play.
Invented in Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 1965, pickleball has rapidly become the fastest-growing sport in the United States over the past decade, with new pickleball surfaces being built and basketball and tennis courts being converted throughout central Indiana.
APP marketing director Tom Webb told IBJ at least 24 college teams will compete in the APP Collegiate Championships and more than 500 amateur and professional players are expected to participate in the Midwest Open.
Webb said APP expects about 5,000 to 7,000 spectators will attend matches during the event, which is expected to mean at least $3 million in economic impact to Westfield.
“It will be nationally televised and it’s going to be the first event of its kind in pickleball history,” Webb said.
APP signed a multi-year agreement to host the Collegiate Championships and Midwest Open at Grand Park Events Center. Webb declined to disclose the exact length of the deal.
The APP Collegiate Championships will feature the nation’s top college pickleball players. Each team will have a minimum of four players (two men and two women) and a maximum of six players (three men and three women). APP is working to finalize a deal to broadcast the championship match on either ESPN or CBS Sports Network.
The Midwest Open will feature amateur and professional pickleball players. The tournament will feature a Pro Wildcard Playoff guaranteeing pro champions an entry into a 2024 APP Tour event. Registration for the Midwest Open will begin Sept. 14 on PickleballBrackets.com.
“This event marks a significant milestone for our city, showcasing our commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles and fostering community through sports,” Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said in written remarks. “We are honored to host this prestigious event and look forward to witnessing the passion and talent of pickleball players nationwide.”
The event in Westfield will be one of at least 20 organized by the APP in 2024. The APP was founded in 2019 and serves professional, amateur and recreational pickleball players in the U.S.
The pickleball event is organized by the APP, Westfield Sports Commission, Hamilton County Sports Authority, Hamilton County Tourism, Indiana Sports and Tourism Bid Fund and Grand National Racquet Center. Details about tickets will be announced.
Grand National Racquet Center is under construction at East 191st Street between Spring Mill Road and Tomlinson Road. The center is part of Westfield-based EdgeRock Development LLC’s 157-acre Woods Robinson Briggs Planned Unit Development. It is expected to open in 2025.
Grand Park has 31 soccer fields, 26 baseball diamonds, two administration buildings, seven concession stands and a multi-use event center. The Indianapolis Colts moved their annual summer training camp to the park in 2018.