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Fort Wayne Hosts Pickleball Tournament

Mike Fritsch

What do you get when you combine ping pong, tennis and badminton? It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it’s actually a sport called pickleball.

Pickleball players and fans will be in Fort Wayne this weekend for a regional tournament, and it will have an economic impact on the city.

It’s the second time Fort Wayne has hosted the regional pickleball tournament. One of the tournament directors, Mike Fritsch, says the event will bring in a variety of players at different skill and age levels.

“This pickleball tournament has some of the best players in the country playing here,” Fritsch said. “As a matter of fact, some of the national champions are coming here to play, so it’s really a good time to see a lot of different ranges of different pickleball skills.”

Fritsch says the youngest person to register for the tournament this year is 13 years old. The oldest are registered in the 65 or older category.

Fritsch is also the president of Fort Wayne’s pickleball association. He says about 250 pickleball players are registered for the tournament.

“To have a regional pickleball tournament, and we’re getting players from 22 states, is really big because the best players in the country are coming here, so it brings a lot of visibility to Fort Wayne,” he said.

Visit Fort Wayne estimates that it will bring in more than $75,000 to the city. In June, the tourism agency received a $20,000 sports grant to go towards hosting tournaments.

The tournament is free to watch and starts on Friday at 9 a.m.

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