The World Pickleball Group (WPG) just announced that the upcoming Delray Beach Pickleball Open, presented by Baptist Health and the Palm Beach Sports Commission, will have equal prize money for their Senior Pros division to the younger Open Pro division. The $30,000 split gives players a chance at winning some of the largest tournament payouts for 50+ pros in pickleball history.
WPG is led by Carl Foster and his Foster Events Group team, who bring over 50 years of sports and entertainment event fundraising and management experience to the Delray Beach Open. Foster’s been the voice for the Delray Beach Open ATP Tennis event for the past 25 years, and was brought on to host the first annual Delray Beach Pickleball Open in 2021.
The tournament will be held from May 10-14 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, FL. Delray Beach Tennis Center is an incredible tournament setting, boasting 24 pickleball courts and a huge championship stadium that can host up to 8,200 fans.
Foster’s experiences hosting pro pickleball tournaments and filming shows for Inside WORLD Pickleball led him to realize that the sport’s senior player base is thriving and deserves a bigger platform. As pickleball continues to grow as America’s fastest-growing sport, we’ve seen its younger pro leagues begin to flourish, and Foster hopes that his organizational efforts in Delray will be part of the change that the senior level needs.
In addition to increasing the prize money for senior pros, Foster also plans on granting free entry to all players in the National Pickleball League (NPL), pickleball’s premier team competition format for Champions Division (50+) players. Foster is the owner of the Boca Raton Picklers, one of the six teams in the league’s inaugural season, and recently drafted his team of 18 players.
“The senior pros just haven’t been happy because they’re put on the back courts, they’re not on the live streams. So I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to do something here in Delray.’ … We’re also going to do a big NPL exhibition the first night of the Delray tournament. We’re comping all the NPL players who were in the Combine and thatt were drafted will be given free event entries.”Carl Foster
WPG will also be hosting an NPL pre-season charity exhibition tournament at the stadium courts on the opening day of the Delray Beach Pickleball Open. This will give audiences a chance to witness the format for the first time ahead of the league’s first tournament in June.
The NPL’s regular season will consist of five tournaments at several Chicken N Pickle venues across the nation, leading up to a big Championship Weekend Tournament in October, hosted at the brand new Chicken N Pickle in Phoenix, AZ. Teams will be competing for $100,000 in cash prize support this season, which the NPL hopes will help support senior players who deserve to be financially supported by playing at the pro level.
“We’re going to do an exhibition for charity the first night, and then they can play the tournament. We want to do something special for the seniors in Delray this year to really bolster the NPL. Next year we want to host a couple matches, so we can introduce our fanbase to the NPL format, which I think is going to be exciting, similar to the MLP a little bit.”Carl Foster
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