It’s always a blast to play in a good, old-fashioned, local, USAP-sanctioned tournament just for the fun of it. You throw down a few bucks to register, play through a few brackets, maybe enjoy a free meal, and take home a medal. Nothing beats seeing your hard work come together in a competitive format and watching your DUPR rating go up a bit.
However, what if you had the chance to win some serious money? We’ve all seen tournaments with prize pools of $5,000, $10,000, and even $20,000, but that prize money is often only for the pro divisions.
Our partner, World Pickleball Tour, the largest, non-sanctioned amateur pickleball series in the U.S., has decided to not only break the norms of what it means to host an amateur pickleball tournament but also fully platform pickleball’s most passionate amateur players. Their grand finale tournament for the 2023 WPT Challenger season, the WPT Amateur Invitational Championships, boasts the largest cash prize we’ve ever seen at an amateur-only pickleball tournament: $175,000.
The $175,000 prize pool will be evenly split per bracket based on the number of players/teams entered in that particular bracket. This means that brackets with a larger player pool will naturally have a larger share of the prize pool for both the sake of fairness and incentivizing participation in all events.
During the 2023 WPT Challenger season, gold medalists at each event earned themselves priority for the championship event registration. But get this: WPT has just opened up registration to all amateur players, meaning any diehard amateur pickleball player can compete!
WPT Strives to Champion Amateur Pickleball Players
What inspired the WPT to key in on just the amateur pickleball scene? Corey Poches, WPT’s Head of Partnerships, explained that early into developing the tour, the WPT team realized that they wanted to create a platform for the space in pickleball that they believe is making it the fastest-growing sport in America: amateur players.
“We started out with just a few events, one in Columbus, Ohio, one in Las Vegas; fast forward to today, we’re the largest amateur tour in the space just by events as well as the number of players we’ll see. We really hit home being focused on the amateur player, so all of our tournaments are amateur only. Nothing against the pro tours at all; we believe that rising tides raise all ships, but at the end of the day, we want to focus on where we believe that true growth of the sport is on the amateur side of things.”Corey Poches, WPT Head of Partnerships
2023 has been a big year for the World Pickleball Tour, as they’ve made tour stops all across the U.S., seeing thousands of passionate amateur players compete in their experientially-driven tournaments. By focusing on the amateur player base, WPT can better curate to that audience and create an exceptional tournament atmosphere for their competitors.
Poches anticipates that the WPT Amateur Invitational Championships will be a culmination of their efforts during the 2023 tour and will prove to be one of the biggest and most exciting amateur pickleball tournaments to date. The 5-day championship tournament, from January 11-15, 2024, is set to be hosted at the Oasis Pickleball Club in Dallas, Texas, one of the nation’s largest pickleball venues.
“From what we understand, we believe that it is the largest cash purse in any amateur-only event that’s ever been thrown. So, it’s our goal to have 1,500 players down there in Dallas, and it will really create a unique experience celebrating the amateur pickleball player – it will be the jumping-off point for our 2024 season by culminating 2023.”Corey Poches, WPT Head of Partnerships
More Than Just A Pickleball Tournament
Beyond the incredible cash payouts to the event winners, WPT wants to make the entire tournament experience feel worth the registration price. Being backed by the Civitas Experiential marketing agency has allowed WPT to key in on developing tournaments that go beyond the basic necessities for a successful event.
While at the championships, expect to experience great food, social events, popular pickleball vendors, and player lounges, all of which will help make you feel like you’re part of a pro-level tournament. Even when it isn’t time to play your matches, you will want to be on the tournament grounds all weekend long!
“We’re an event-driven business, and having the backing of an experiential agency in Civitas, we’ve taken a lot of pride in putting together a really unique event experience. So, things like player lounges, VIP areas, a vendor village, and some partner and sponsor experiences. We’re looking into entertainment throughout the evenings – It’s a 5-day event, and people may come and play on Friday but not Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. So, it’s important to provide them with opportunities for entertainment while they spend time in that area. It’ll be a really unique and fun player experience building around that.”Corey Poches, WPT Head of Partnerships
If you’re interested in playing in the tournament to win part of that $175,000 prize, register as soon as possible before the event fills up! Click here to register today.
Leading up to the championships, the WPT still has a few other tournaments left in the 2023 season, including tour stops in Louisville, Austin, and Miami at the end of October. Check out the World Pickleball Tour website for more info!
“We’ve really focused on being as player-centric as possible and building a unique experience around the players and our partners and sponsors. I think you’ll see a very elevated experience in this one based on just celebrating who we are and what we’re all about.”Corey Poches, WPT Head of Partnerships
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