The Goodyear Blimp has been a prominent fixture at significant sporting events for over six decades now.
As PPA events are most definitely “significant events” these days, one of these blimps is scheduled to grace the skies above the Life Time Rancho athletic resort in San Clemente, California, on 3rd December, marking its debut in providing aerial coverage for a professional Pickleball tournament.
Historic And Landmark Event
This historic and landmark event officially marks both the sport and the PPA Tour as “Blimpworthy.”
In celebration of this milestone, notable PPA Tour athletes Anna Leigh Waters, Catherine Parenteau, and Jay Devilliers recently took to the skies with Goodyear Blimp pilots to engage in the world’s smallest Pickleball match aboard one of their blimps.
“Crazy,” remarked Devilliers afterward.
In a unique promotional feat, the three pickleball pros undertook two blimp rides, playing on a small, makeshift court suitable only for singles matches.
Safety measures, including tethering the ball to the net and utilizing breakaway suction cups to secure the net, were implemented within the gondola’s confines, which measured about seven feet wide.
All passengers were required to sign waivers.
On one of the flights, the co-pilot engaged in a rally with a paddle borrowed from one player while the pilot-in-charge navigated the airship.
According to Julianne Roberts, Director of Global External Communications at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, the inspiration for this unique experience stemmed from an article highlighting pickleball’s growing popularity. The article also posed the question of whether the sport was “Blimpworthy” enough to merit the iconic presence of the Goodyear Blimp.
A spontaneous Pickleball match also broke out at Goodyear’s airship base in Carson, California, as the iconic airship flew majestically overhead.
Pickleball, boasting a remarkable growth rate of 158.6% over the past three years, is officially America’s fastest-growing sport, attracting over 36.5 million enthusiasts. The Carvana PPA Tour serves as the professional pinnacle of Pickleball, where top athletes compete head-to-head, determining the world’s premier male and female players.
Pickleball is officially a “Blimpworthy” sport! This Sunday, the blimp will take to the skies above the @PPAtour Finals.— Goodyear Blimp (@GoodyearBlimp) November 30, 2023
To celebrate, a few players challenged our pilots to a match – and then to up the competition, they took it to the skies on board the Blimp. (It was a tie 😉) pic.twitter.com/AF1ifx4JjP
“A Thrilling Season”
Connor Pardoe, Founder, and CEO of the PPA Tour, expressed, “The Goodyear Blimp’s appearance at the CIBC PPA Tour Finals, the culmination of a thrilling season, is a symbol that Pickleball is officially entering the ranks of other professional sports – that we have arrived.
“We are thrilled to celebrate in this exciting moment for the sport as a whole and the PPA Tour this weekend with players and fans alike.”
Since its inception in 1955, the Goodyear Blimp has redefined fans’ experiences by providing breathtaking aerial perspectives at over 2,000 sports and entertainment events across the nation.
Chris Kostiuk, director of Goodyear Airship Operations, emphasized, “We have a saying: if it’s a big event, the Goodyear Blimp is there.
“The Goodyear Blimp’s appearance at the final PPA tournament of the year is a fitting tribute to the sport’s growing popularity,” he added.
A Specialized Line
Both pilots and players showcased a specialized line of pickleball shoes by Skechers during the matches – Skechers is the official shoe and sponsor of the PPA Tour.
These shoes feature non-marking outsoles crafted with Goodyear Gold rubber technology, enhancing durability and traction, enabling elite players to maneuver with controlled slides on Pickleball courts.
Skechers is set to unveil a special offer during Sunday’s CIBC PPA Finals tournament broadcast, celebrating this unique collaboration among the three brands.
Weather permitting, the Goodyear Blimp’s aerial coverage of Sunday’s matches will be aired on FS1 from 3 p.m. PST.
Visit goodyearblimp.com for further details on the blimp’s location.
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