By Wil Crews
Mayor Gary Fuller and the city of Opelika’s Parks and Rec Department held a press conference Friday at the Opelika Sportsplex to showcase the new expansion of the facility’s pickleball courts and announce upcoming tournaments.
The city began construction of 12 additional pickleball courts, bringing the total number to 24. The additional courts will allow the Sportsplex to increase its capacity for tournaments from 300 to 1,000.
“I want to thank Point Broadband for sponsoring the construction of this 12-court expansion,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Sam Bailey in a city press release. “We appreciate the support to our community and are fortunate to have such amazing partners who love Opelika.”
According to Fuller, the expansion will have a positive economic impact on area restaurants, hotels and retail for years.
“The construction of the new pickleball courts is an investment in the future of the
city of Opelika,” Fuller said. “The total economic impact for this year alone is a conservative estimate of $2 million from the tournaments the Sportsplex will be able to host.”
The Opelika Sportsplex will host five tournaments in 2022, beginning with the one held this past week. The details of each event and estimated economic impact is as follows:
• Paddles at the Plex, March 3 through 6, estimated 325 players. Estimated economic impact – $154,000.
• USA Pickleball Atlantic South Regional, June 21 through 26, 750 estimated players. Estimated economic impact – $625,000.
• Alabama Senior Pickleball Olympics, Aug. 26 through 28, 200 estimated players. Estimated economic impact – $100,000.
• APP Pro Tour, Oct. 6 through 9, 750 estimated players. Estimated economic impact – $550,000-$600,000.
• IFP Bambridge World Cup, Oct. 19 through 23, 700 to 1,000 estimated players. Estimated economic impact – $630,000.