Opelika’s second invitational pickleball tournament will be held this weekend. The Opelika Parks and Recreation Department and the Opelika-Auburn Pickleball Club are hosting “Paddles at the Plex” Thursday through Sunday at the Opelika Pickleball Facility.
The tournament will feature 325 players representing 12 states. Approximately 70% of players are traveling from more than 80 miles away.
“We are excited about having people from all across the Southeast in Opelika,” said Sam Bailey, director of Opelika Parks and Recreation. “It gives us the chance to show off our facility and our community.”
Out of town guests staying in Opelika hotels, eating at Opelika restaurants and shopping at Opelika retailors means that the city is going to see increased revenue throughout the duration of the tournament. Anthony Terling, AO Tourism sports and event development manager, predicts that the estimated economic impact from the tournament will exceed $120,000.
“Auburn-Opelika Tourism is ecstatic for the opportunity to showcase the Opelika Pickleball Facility,” said Terling. “Following a tough year, these types of events mean more than ever to our local businesses.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a few modifications from previous tournaments. In following with CDC recommendations, masks and social distancing will be required. All equipment and high touch surfaces will be sanitized regularly. All players and spectators will be checked for symptoms upon their arrival to the facility.
Thursday’s schedule will include Men’s Singles and Women’s Doubles for 60+ age groups. Friday will feature Men’s Doubles and Women’s Singles for all skill and age groups. Saturday’s schedule will feature Mixed Doubles for all age and skill levels. Sunday’s schedule includes Women’s Doubles and Men’s Singles for <60 age groups. The tournament will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. Games will begin at 7:30 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a community as forward thinking as Opelika,” said Jim Young, Opelika-Auburn Pickleball Club tournament director. “The city is very supportive of everything we do, and it just leads to success.”