Pickleball Tournament Debuts in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – The first Gamma Pickleball Classic, benefiting the Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, will be held this weekend at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

More than 250 players will travel from nine states to compete in this USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) sanctioned tournament.

USAPA membership has grown 23 percent in 2015 and 900 percent since 2010. Pickleball is a mix of tennis, ping pong and badminton. It is mostly played as doubles and requires more strategy than power. It requires finesse and mental concentration but less mobility than tennis, making it an ideal sport for the baby boomer generation. Individuals battling Parkinson’s disease are discovering the benefits of Pickleball as a way to battle symptoms and enhance their quality of life. Competition will take place June 3-5, starting at 9 a.m. each day, on 20 courts at the convention center.

"This event is unlike any other in the sport, and it's set in the heart of Pittsburgh's cultural district," said Michael Wertz, co-chair of the Pickleball Classic and CEO of Apple Box Studios. "The city will be alive this weekend with the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, a Pirate home stand and Pickleball."

"The Gamma Pickleball Tournament will provide Pittsburgh with a front row seat view of a sport that many people may not know about, but one that is quickly growing in popularity for both competitors and spectators," said Derek Dawson, sports development director for SportsPITTSBURGH. "Most importantly, the tournament again demonstrates how hosting sports events in Pittsburgh can involve and benefit our communities. The Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, which is benefiting from the tournament, is a great organization that is helping so many people."

This year's tournament is sponsored by Gamma Sports, Highmark and Allegheny Health Network and will include learn-to-play clinics and walk-up games of skill.

For more information, call 412.692.3971 or visit www.pickleballclassic.org. Interview and photo opportunities are available.

About Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania
The Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania provides service, support and education for those living with Parkinson's disease and their families and supports medical research to discover the cause and cure. There are approximately 8,000-10,000 people in Western PA currently suffering from PD. Since its founding in 1995, the organization has committed $750,000 to Parkinson Disease research.

As the sports development division of VisitPITTSBURGH, SportsPITTSBURGH's primary goal is to attract and host a wide variety of sporting events in the region, providing the experience and expertise to reinforce Pittsburgh's reputation as a legendary sports town.