Miami is set to attract a wave of pickleball enthusiasts this weekend as it gears up for The Pickle Games, a two-day event its creators have ambitiously touted as “the biggest pickleball festival in the world.”
Scheduled to take place at the iconic Miami Marine Stadium on Jan. 13-14, The Pickle Games will feature not just your typical tournament, but an array of family-friendly experiences open to all ticket holders.
Founded by event production veterans
The festival was dreamt up by Cristina Llorente and Steve Suarez, founder of Black Stage Productions, a full-service event production company which has worked with the likes of Formula 1, MLB, Art Basel and Miami Fashion Week.
“Pickleball has become a passion in our group of friends and among the members of our team,” Suarez told NoVolleys. “Given our 30 years’ combined event production experience, we decided to capitalize on the growing popularity of pickleball and curate a community event where everyone – from novice to professional players – can come together to have fun, network & compete.”
According to the pair, the festival won’t just be a one-off event. “We plan to make this a yearly event in Miami & expand The Pickle Games to other cities across the United States.”
Pickle Games tournament details
The action will all take place in the large parking area behind the stadium, where up to 50 courts will be built out for the competition. A special stadium court with seating for 1,000 will also be constructed on the grounds for featured matches, with a court even planned to go up on an anchored barge.
Organizers expect the tournament to draw around 500 players and upwards of 5,000 spectators. The cost to enter is on the higher side, as far as pickleball tournaments go, at $500 per team, up $100 from the early bird price.
But that also includes extra perks like access to the Athlete Village, a 5,000-square-foot area where players can rest, relax, and enjoy premium amenities like physical therapy, massages, and refreshments. They will also get to take home a swag bag filled with pickleball goodies.
General Admission and VIP tickets
Attendees not playing in the tournament can still enjoy the festivities by purchasing tickets that range from $20 for a one day General Admission pass ($30 for two days), all the way up to $175 for an E11EVEN VIP Beach Club pass.
The VIP tickets grant expedited entry into the E11EVEN VIP area (not the nightclub) where a DJ will be spinning. They also give access to lounge areas by the water, preferred seating for celebrity matches and more.
Other sponsors signed on for the event include pickleball retailer Selkirk, Hendricks Gin, Cigna Healthcare and LaCroix.
All festival goers can look forward to an assortment of handpicked food vendors, providing a taste of local and international cuisines. In addition, visitors can enjoy live musical performances and shop for the latest in pickleball gear at special popup shops.
Schedule and participants
The Pickle Fest has also lined up several pickleball pros and local celebrities to participate in the bash. The event has confirmed that Matt Manasse, the so-called “pickleball coach to the stars”, and pro player Ryan Sherry will be in attendance.
Also slated for the event are a series of pickleball and health clinics, including drills, tips on strategy, physical recovery, mental health and even skin care. According to a preliminary schedule provided by organizers, these events will likely start around 10am and run for 30 minutes each, all day until 4pm.
What: The Pickle Games
Where: Miami Marine Stadium | Miami, Fl
When: Jan 13-14
Tournament Entry: $500/team | Register
General Admission: From $20 to $175 | Purchase
Event website: https://thepicklegames.com/