ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County is now in the turquoise, and sports tournaments are getting the green light to start back up again. The city is already planning for a large, first-of-its-kind tournament this fall.
The mayor announced Thursday the inaugural New Mexico Open Pickleball Tournament. He says it will bring in hundreds of players from the surrounding states. “People actually drive into Albuquerque for this, from all over the southwest. They spend money in our restaurants. They stay at our hotels,” Mayor Tim Keller said.
For those who don’t know, pickleball is a combination of tennis and badminton. The tournament is scheduled for September 2 through Sept. 6. at the Manzano Mesa Pickleball Complex, which is off Southern and Eubank.
The city’s parks and recreation director says pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the area and Albuquerque has already had a positive experience with tournament players. When the National Senior Games were held in Albuquerque in 2019, pickleball players represented the largest cohort, accounting for 1,200 players out of the total 14,000.
“During the senior games, pickleball players alone pumped over $1.5 million into our local economy. So with 700 to 1,000 players expected at the inaugural New Mexico Open in September, you can see how the New Mexico Open is a big deal,” said Dave Simon, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The city is also working on expanding the pickleball courts to add more courts, spectator seating and better bathrooms. The city says they are currently working with other clubs to bring more tournaments in this summer but nothing is set in stone yet.
Right now, there are some smaller swim tournaments happening at the West Mesa Aquatics Center. The city hopes to have larger events by the end of summer. For more information or to register, visit cabq.gov/parksandrecreation/news/albuquerque-to-host-inaugural-new-mexico-open-pickleball-tournament.