March 9, 2022
PPPA – EMAIL BLAST SPECIAL EDITION #1
PPPA Mission and Tournaments
Your PPPA Board has received a number of questions recently on a variety of topics. As a result, we are issuing a series of “Special Blasts” to share information surrounding the activities and decisions to help PPPA continue to serve our local pickleball community. This first blast will focus on our mission, with a further discussion on the PPPA Board’s process and decision on sponsoring local tournaments.
The mission of PPPA, as codified in our bylaws, is to promote the sport of pickleball in El Paso County CO through education, training and conduct of amateur sports competitions. Due to our strong relationship with local governments (School District 11, City of Colorado Springs, and El Paso County), we are able to reserve court time to offer many activities in the local area for our current and prospective members including:
- Free Beginner Lessons at Wasson High School during summer
- Guided Play at MVP pickleball courts
- Round Robin Play at MVP and Bear Creek pickleball courts
- Ladder Play management
When it comes to tournament play, there are three types of local tournament opportunities:
1) PPPA sponsored tournaments (solely directed and managed by PPPA)
2) PPPA partnered tournaments (directed and managed in partnership with another organization or corporation)
3) Externally sponsored tournaments in Colorado Springs/El Paso County (no PPPA affiliation)
i. Locally sponsored tournaments (i.e., Coronado HS and Wasson HS fundraisers)
ii. Corporately sponsored tournaments (i.e., National Pickleball, USA Pickleball)
When your PPPA Board is made aware of externally sponsored tournaments, despite having no affiliation, we do offer advertisement of these tournaments in our Weekly Blasts in order to share opportunities for these amateur competitions to our membership.
Regarding sponsoring or partnering for local tournaments, there are a number of factors your PPPA Board considers when making these decisions. One of the major considerations is our relationship with local governments. PPPA works in collaboration with the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services and the county’s Parks organizations to achieve a balance of court usage for 1) open play for local tax paying players, 2) PPPA assigned court time for our education and training programs, and 3) reserved court time for hosted tournament play. In fact, El Paso County has communicated with PPPA that it’s their stated position to limit the use of the Bear Creek pickleball courts for tournaments. They do not want that park to become a “pickleball mecca” but instead view those courts for local community play.
One of the frequent questions we have received has been the rationale behind the PPPA Board’s decision to not partner with USA Pickleball’s Great Plains Region in 2021 and 2022 for their annual tournament. Below are some of the reasons behind that decision.
PPPA and the USA Pickleball Great Plains Region (GPR) organizations are both independent 501(c)3 nonprofit corporations, both incorporated under IRS rules through the Secretary of State of Colorado. While both organizations’ missions include exposure and advancement of the sport of pickleball, the USA Pickleball Great Plains Region’s stated purpose encompasses a seven-state region across the north-central United States.
While GPR is a great opportunity to provide community business support and tourism-related economic benefit to Colorado Springs, GPR only commits $1,000 of past tournament proceeds back into the maintenance of the MVP pickleball venue. The remaining tournament proceeds serve the other needs of their entire seven-state region. This did not align well with PPPA’s non-profit mission to focus on promoting pickleball locally in El Paso County where 100% of all PPPA’s fundraising remains in our Colorado Springs community. To date, the PPPA nonprofit has contributed over $380,000 in cash donations from membership dues, tournament proceeds and grant funding to help build new pickleball facilities in our local area and contributed many $1,000’s more supporting its local education, training and outreach efforts.
Your PPPA Board did not believe this remained a fair and equitable distribution given the increasing demand for hundreds of volunteer hours put forth by you, our PPPA members, throughout the GPR tournament. Despite our efforts to negotiate for greater return from tournament proceeds, the two organizations were unable to reach an equitable financial agreement in 2021.
Our analysis of the GPR proposal in 2021 provided too great a risk to our organization. The risk included a likely outcome that PPPA would have experienced a financial loss given GPR’s requirement for PPPA volunteers and equipment support throughout the five-day tournament. Based on the GPR proposal which included a reduced amount of Lodgers and Auto Rental Tax (LART) funding received from the city of Colorado Springs, the PPPA Board estimated a $1,500 financial loss.
In addition, the 2021 agreement included use of taped courts at Colorado College and required PPPA taking on all responsibility for maintaining these courts throughout the tournament. That was a great risk to PPPA, and many of you are aware of the rain-induced issues this caused GPR tournament players and resulted in numerous complaints. In fact, some of those players were diverted to Bear Creek to play matches. However, those courts were not rented, reserved, nor authorized for GPR play by El Paso County Parks. Upon arrival, tournament players discovered that the Bear Creek courts were in use for its Grand Opening and for paddle-up, rotational play for local players. The tournament players were asked to return to the scheduled MVP and CC venues for GPR tournament play.
Regarding the 2022 GPR tournament, your PPPA Board never received or pursued a proposal for an equitable support agreement. The 2022 GPR is scheduled as a seven-day long tournament in June 2022. The extended length of this tournament restricts use of MVP and reduces court availability throughout the area for local players (to include PPPA’s round robin, ladders, instruction, open play, etc.). El Paso County Parks has declined the GPR request to also use the Bear Creek courts given the imposed reduced public court availability and their desire to protect Bear Creek courts for local community play.
PPPA remains open to future partnership for this tournament, if mutually beneficial, and initial dialogue has occurred between PPPA and GPR for a possible equitable agreement in 2023.
ANNOUNCING PPPA’S NEW REGIONAL TOURNAMENT PARTNERSHIP FOR 2022!
In 2022, PPPA has successfully negotiated a financially equitable partnership with US Senior Pickleball (USSP) to bring another major regional tournament to the Pikes Peak area September 9 – 11. However, this will not be a “Seniors-only” tournament. The “Colorado Open—Pikes Peak or Bust” tournament will be hosted by PPPA, partnered with USSP, and corporately-sponsored by SCHEELS Sporting Goods. This tournament will offer competition for players age 18-80, skill levels 3.0-4.5+, with Women’s, Men’s and Mixed Doubles as well as Singles competitions at MVP. Registration for up to 450 players will open on May 1st on the USSP website.