Annual event to be held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to serve as a major fundraiser for the Brees Dream Foundation
NEW ORLEANS – (May 17, 2023) – Brittany and Drew Brees announced today the creation of The NOLA Pickleball Fest, an annual event benefitting the Brees Dream Foundation. The inaugural event will be held August 10-13, 2023, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Brees and the staff of the Brees Dream Foundation have been working closely with local tourism leaders at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and New Orleans & Company, as well as national companies Joola and The Kitchen, to organize all aspects of the event.
“Brittany and I could not be more excited to bring the first annual NOLA Pickleball Fest to New Orleans,” says Drew Brees. Combining one of the fastest growing and most enjoyable sports alongside a city that knows how to host a party will make this one of the premier events of the summer. It will be great food, music, events, and plenty of pickleball all inside the Convention Center, as we crown amateur champions and raise proceeds for the Brees Dream Foundation that will go towards our ongoing efforts in New Orleans.”
The NOLA Pickleball Fest (“The NOLA”) benefitting the Brees Dream Foundation is a unique, festival-style pickleball tournament featuring 24 tournament-quality PickleRoll courts, live music, a celebrity exhibition match featuring Drew Brees, VIP experiences and much more. The NOLA will have three divisions of round robin play: women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles for skill levels 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0+. There are two brackets to compete in: Open and 40 yrs. old and over. Featured matches will be played on a center court with grandstand seating as well as Kern Studio Mardi Gras floats for VIP viewing. Join us for an unforgettable experience and the ultimate pickleball party. To sign up or for more information, visit www.drewbrees.com.
“As pickleball participation continues to skyrocket, we’re honored and excited to be working with Drew and his team to create an annual pickleball festival that creates tourism for a higher purpose,” said Jay Cicero, President/CEO of the Sports Foundation. “The Brees Dream Foundation will distribute funds raised from the event to partner charitable organizations along the Gulf Coast. Given the combination of the sport’s popularity and charitable aspect of NOLA Pickleball Fest, it will surely be a hit among amateur and seasoned Pickleball players alike.”
“When it comes to sports, New Orleans is known for hosting iconic championship moments. With our singular, authentic culture and welcoming people, 26,0000 hotel rooms within two miles of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and unmatched hospitality, New Orleans is truly Built to Host,” said Walter J. Leger III, President & CEO of New Orleans & Company, the official destination sales, and marketing organization for the New Orleans tourism industry. “Crowds have always been drawn to New Orleans for sporting events of all types and sizes and now it is an honor to add the annual NOLA Pickleball Fest. This event will not only provide a critical summertime tourism boost for the New Orleans economy, but also help the entire community served by the Brees Dream Foundation.”
“The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is delighted to welcome the inaugural NOLA Pickleball Fest to New Orleans this August,” said Convention Center President Michael J. Sawaya. “Our involvement with the NOLA Pickleball Fest supports our mission to host events that positively impact the local economy. With the passion of the Brees Dream Foundation and the diligent support of local tourism leaders, there is no doubt the tournament will grow into the best tournament in the nation and benefit our community for years to come.”
Pickleball originated in the Pacific Northwest in the 1960s and combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It is the fastest-growing sport in the United States with annual increases of millions of people playing, according to a 2023 participation report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals.
Registration for the tournament opens in early June. To register to play, visit www.drewbrees.com. To volunteer, visit www.gnosports.com/volunteer.
About the Brees Dream Foundation
The Brees Dream Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that was founded in 2003 by Brittany and Drew Brees. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need. Since their inception 20 years ago, the Brees Dream Foundation has contributed over $50,000,000 to charitable causes globally.
About The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation
Organized in August 1988, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation (Sports Foundation) is a non-profit 501(c) (4) organization whose mission is to attract and manage sporting events that have a positive economic impact on Louisiana and the Greater New Orleans area. Throughout its 35-year history, the Sports Foundation has hosted and been awarded hundreds of events and turned a $40 million public investment into more than $3 billion in economic impact for the State of Louisiana and the Greater New Orleans area.
About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans is Built to Host! With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space, in an entirely contiguous hall, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (“NOENMCC”) provides the largest single exhibit space in the country and is the sixth largest convention center in the nation. NOENMCC features an award-winning staff and first-class amenities in the city that’s Built to Host. A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, NOENMCC’s event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.
About New Orleans & Co.
New Orleans & Company is the tourism and hospitality industry’s official destination sales, marketing and trade organization, responsible for driving over $10 billion of diverse annual business to the regional cultural economy. We attract leisure and cultural travel, business meetings, conventions, weddings, festivals, sporting and special events to New Orleans in a highly competitive global environment. Founded in 1960, New Orleans & Company is committed to celebrating the richness of our culture while creating jobs, building careers, and enhancing the quality of life for every New Orleanian.
JOOLA has been a pioneer in table tennis since its establishment in 1952. In 2022, its expansion into pickleball quickly attracted the biggest names in the sport. As a sponsor of both the PPA and APP Tours and to top athletes in the game, the team at JOOLA combines its expertise with fresh perspectives to bring synergy and innovation to the pickleball market. JOOLA creates a variety of equipment, apparel, and accessories for pickleball players, both professional and recreational. JOOLA is based in Rockville, MD, and is owned by Sport Squad, Inc. Learn more about JOOLA and see why the sport’s best are joining Team JOOLA by visiting joolausa.com.
About The Kitchen
The Kitchen is a lifestyle and media brand championing the sport of pickleball. Launched in 2021, The Kitchen has grown to be the largest community with nearly 500K passionate pickleball enthusiasts. They work with professional athletes, celebrities, and both endemic and non-endemic brands who want to get in front of the most enthusiastic pickleball players in the world. The Kitchen’s newest venture is retail, having just launched a heavily curated selection of the best paddles and gear from the best brands in the business, and can be found at www.shop.thekitchenpickle.com.