Terri Graham and Chris Evon sat down with Kitchen Talk: Pickleball Edition podcast host, Kaitlin Miller, to discuss the remarkable growth of The US Open Pickleball Championships.
The visionaries behind the iconic pickleball event in Naples, Florida reflected on the event’s humble beginnings. Graham and Evon saw the need for a large scale, one-of-a-kind pickleball event and capitalized on the opportunity. Started in 2016, the event had 800 participants and 2,000 spectators in its first year. The Open has become a “bucket list” item for many. This was made evident by the massive success of 2023 with 3,000 participants and 40,000 spectators.
Due to its immense growth, Graham and Evon created a registration lottery to ease the stress of registering for players. The registration lottery is open January 10-17, 2024.
Billed as The Biggest Pickleball Party in the World™, the energy and atmosphere at “The Open” is incomparable. Miller describes it as “pickleball heaven” with something there for everyone. Graham and Evon share that athletes and spectators find one aspect of The Open particularly special: the diversity.
The 2023 US Open Pickleball Championships welcomed players of all ages and from all over the world. The event includes players of different abilities, as well as offering a wheelchair event.
This special event takes place in paradise, also known as Naples, Florida, and has been a driving force for the local economy, bringing in more than $14 million dollars last year. Graham and Evon say it’s only going to get bigger.
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