WESTFIELD, Ind — Grand Park in Westfield is known for its massive square footage, hosting indoor and outdoor sporting events and more. The park attracts millions of visitors each year.
"Grand Park was really built for the sports of baseball and soccer," Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said.
It has since evolved, with the event center being home to the Indianapolis Colts Training Camp.
Come January, the center will be home to a growing sport: pickleball.
On Tuesday, The Association of Pickleball Players (APP) announced the 2024 Collegiate Championships and Midwest Open will take place at Grand Park Jan. 3-7, 2024. The event will mark one of the largest pickleball events ever in the state of Indiana.
"If you look at what's going on in the pickleball world right now, you got several different tours, and they really key in on the professional game, but they don't really key on the college or amateur game," said John Moorin, a Hamilton County resident and three-time U.S. Open Pickleball champion.
The 2024 APP Collegiate Championships will invite the top college pickleball teams from across the country to showcase their skills in a unique tournament.
Each team must have a minimum of four players (two women and two men) and compete in several matches from pool play through the finals in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
College teams looking to enter the tournament are asked to register at this link. Complete registration details for all college teams confirmed to take part will be shared at a later date by the APP.
Moorin helped bring the tournament to Grand Park, but said he had to overcome some challenges.
"This place is mobbed in the summer, but it's a 'ghost town' in the winter," Moorin said.
Moorin said pickleball is often played on outdoor courts. Grand Park will house 30 indoor pickleball courts.
The city of Westfield got behind the idea and the passion so many around the nation have for pickleball.
"There's still this kind of grassroots feel to it. Think about tennis or football 100 years ago, and that's kind of where we are," Morrin said.
Morrin hopes this will put central Indiana on the map for one of the most growing sports in the United States.
Alongside the APP Collegiate Championships, the APP will hold the APP Midwest Open for players of all ages and skill levels.
The event will feature a Pro Wildcard Playoff, guaranteeing pro champions an entry into a designated 2024 APP Tour event. The amateur brackets will follow the traditional APP double-elimination format for singles, doubles and mixed doubles competitions.
Registration will open Sept. 14. You can register online at PickleballBrackets.com.
Before the championship games begin, officials say during the last three weeks in December, anyone can come out and play to try out the new floors. The cost is estimated at $10 per person, per hour.