Pickleball partnerships and tourism

Update posted by Bob Nibarger – USAPA Communications Chair
One question commonly asked is “How do I get my Park Department interested in pickleball?” The answer is quite simple. The goal will be to form a solid partnership with your local convention and tourism bureau. All communities or at least most of them strive for economic development. Bringing in hotel, motel and restaurant receipts will boost your community. The first step is to meet with city or town officials and demonstrate how pickleball can enhance tourism. Below is part of a document provided to the Cornelius, N.C. Town Council which is planning to add 10 dedicated pickleball courts in 2018.

A recent Carrolton, Ga., impact study suggested that 20% of attendees at a tournament are from outside the local area, and its default per-party spending for a sporting event per day is $122 per person per day. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) estimates of per-person spending for USTA tournaments are higher, roughly $500 per 3.5 day tournament, or about $152.86 per day. Because of Cornelius’ rural location, we estimate that a larger portion of guests would be outside of Mecklenburg County and surrounding areas, and that the percent of attendees at a state or regional tournament that reside outside the local area could be as high as fifty percent. However, we also estimate lower shopping and transportation expenditures per person. For our economic impact estimates, we agreed to a $139 per person per day as our baseline for spending. This is based on an assumption of $79 per guest for lodging (based on the potential for double occupancy of a room), $35 per guest for food, and $25 for retail expenditures.

Our estimates are between the USTA and the Carrolton Georgia estimates for personal spending. The methodology consists of multiple steps. First, we estimate the spending by both players and guests. The estimates of the number of players and guests that attend a tournament come from data obtained from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) regarding the average number of guests per player, and the average expenditure of individuals associated with the tennis tournament. For the estimates of the number of players. In summary, work closely with your tourism department and new doors will open. The numbers speak for themselves, but combine that with the staggering growth of pickleball nationwide and the range of ages able to play pickleball – convincing your community to expand its pickleball offerings should not be a hard sell.

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