Randall’s Island, just next to Manhattan, is set to become a prominent hub for the nation’s fastest-growing sport.
Exceptional Racket Sport Facilities
Sportime Randall’s Island, renowned for its exceptional tennis facilities and the home of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, is about to undergo a remarkable metamorphosis.
Insider sources reveal that the facility will soon house 12 cutting-edge indoor pickleball courts.
The driving forces behind this transformative project are none other than the legendary McEnroe brothers – John and Patrick, who have teamed up with Sportime CEO Claude Okin as project partners.
New York’s First And Largest Pickleball Facility
Pickleball, typically an outdoor sport, has encountered a surge in popularity, resulting in a rise in noise complaints across New York City and restrictions on its seasonal play.
However, introducing these state-of-the-art indoor pickleball courts will mark a groundbreaking development as the city’s first and largest indoor pickleball facility.
This move promises to accommodate enthusiasts year-round while addressing the noise-related concerns associated with the sport.
Claude Okin told the New York Post, “The time really seemed like now. We’re going to have thousands of people playing pickleball at Randall’s Island instead of just a few hundred at these much smaller facilities.”
An Estimated Cost Of $45 Million
Sportime was already in the process of expanding, adding 10 new tennis courts to make the 30-court facility one of the largest in the world. And it now also plans to retrofit five hard-surface tennis courts to provide 12 hybrid pickleball courts.
The total expansion project, expected to be completed by next year, though it will be open by the fall, cost an estimated $45 million.
Okin envisions tennis and pickleball playing off each other and combining to turn Sportime into a go-to destination for racket sports players.
“I’m Gonna Throw Up!”
However, John McEnroe has been open with his public criticism of the sport. He sees it as a threat to tennis, not something that runs peacefully alongside it. Indeed, as the New York Post points out, he told the Miami Herald in March, “If I hear one more time that pickleball is the fastest-growing sport, I’m gonna throw up.”
Okin puts a more balanced spin on things: “As long as we’re committed to tennis as our heart and soul, I think he’s (McEnroe) good. He wants the club to be successful. Sportime’s economic success allows us to invest more in tennis and the youth programs that John is passionate about.
“At Sportime, we’re finding that we are getting pickleball players to also want to play tennis.”
“Our Legacy Gift To New York”
The facility will offer various leagues, which can be competitive or purely social, allowing participants to choose the level of competition that best suits their skill and comfort.
Players will also have the flexibility to rent courts on a seasonal basis or by the hour.
Okin says, “We were building this largest-in-the-world tennis training and playing facility on Randall’s Island. It’s our legacy gift to New York. We’re very proud of it.
“We’ve always been about welcoming everyone to our club in New York. We thought we should welcome pickleballers. They live among us; we love them. We thought, ‘Why not?’ We can do it so easily and so well.”
These great articles also talk about the pickleball scene in and around Manhattan.
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