In a competitive bid process, the USA Pickleball Middle States Regional is booked for June 1-4, 2023, and May 30-June 2, 2024, at Cooper Tennis Complex. The Springfield Sports Commission, Springfield-Greene County Park Board and Pickleball Blast won rights to host the events over Milwaukee and Chicago.
From 800 to 1,000 athletes are expected to compete in the tournaments each year. Annually, local hotels can expect about 2,000 room nights and spending of about $675,000 from the people who come to the city for the events.
"We are pleased to be selected as the destination for the 2023 and 2024 USA Pickleball Middle States Regional,” said Lance Kettering, Sports Commission director. “The sport of pickleball is growing at a rapid pace throughout the country and also in Springfield. We are most appreciative of the support of the personnel at the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and the Cooper Tennis Complex. We look forward to showcasing our anchor tennis complex, Cooper Tennis, for USA Pickleball and the Middle States region."
The region consists of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin; however, entries from about 30 states are expected. The events will be operated by the USA Pickleball Middle States Regional Director Jim Berger and co-directed by Roberta Camara of Pickleball Blast.
"The Cooper Complex is designed well for such an event and I think this has the makings of a stellar pickleball event for the Middle States region and USA Pickleball," Berger said.
Camara said he expects the event to be one of the largest ever to take place in Missouri.
"We are super excited to bring an event of the importance of the USA Pickleball Middle States Regional to Springfield for 2023 and 2024,” Camara said. “Together with a team of experienced tournament operators, directors and the Springfield pickleball community, we anticipate this to be the largest and best pickleball tournament in the state of Missouri."
Pickleball is a sport created by combining elements of several other racket sports. Players use solid paddles to hit a perforated ball, much like a Wiffle Ball, over a net.
“Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the country, and the Park Board now offers pickleball courts and programs at 10 locations,” said Bob Belote, Director of Parks. “Following this June’s inaugural Queen City Open at Cooper Tennis Complex, we’re thrilled to host a USA Pickleball tournament in 2023 and 2024."
The USA Pickleball Middle States Regional is one of dozens of amateur sporting events brought to the city through the efforts of the Springfield Sports Commission and partner organizations. The Sports Commission is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the local economy through sports travel. Learn more at www.SpringfieldMOSports.org or call 417-881-5300.