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Pickleball Is Great and So Are The Tournaments: An Interview

Pickleball Is Great and So Are The Tournaments: An Interview

  • Pickleball Is Great (PIG) isn't just another tournament organizer. Led by Mike Hoxie, PIG prioritizes packing your day with thrilling matches, keeping downtime to a minimum for players. We recently caught up with Mike to delve into his vision for PIG and explore his thoughts on the future of pickleball.
Mike Hoxie

Pickleball Is Great (PIG), led by owner Mike Hoxie, prioritizes an exceptional tournament experience with an emphasis on more games and minimizing downtime for players. We sat down with Mike and asked him about his vision and what he thinks about the future of pickleball. 

What brought you to pickleball? How did you discover your passion for it?

 I started pickleball back in 2010 in the Portland, OR market. I was fortunate to have players with years of experience to help me learn the game and grow my passion. With a full time job, I started as a weekend player, then added work nights over the next few months. We formed a pickleball club within the next year, and soon after that, the plans for the first pickleball tournament. The 2012 Pickle Barrel Classic was my tournament. I was invited to participate in the State Games of Oregon pickleball tournament team. They managed everything by hand for many years, and it was time for someone to computerize the games.

How was Pickleball Is Great (PIG) developed?

We started Pickleball Is Great in 2016. It was recommended that we start a company based on the feedback from players to Melissa McCurley (The owner of the software company

My son and I did a “kitchen table” brainstorming together with the concept to follow Polo Ralph Lauren and LACOSTE.  Our goal was an icon that is so strong and a name is the acronym. We started with the first word of pickleball to be google friendly and started making 3 and four letter words. It took less than an hour to land on PIG and joke that we like Bacon much more than Pickles.

We ran six tournaments in year one, which became thirteen in my second year. A couple of missed promotions lit my fire to keep things growing. In 2018, I left my full-time job mid-year as I ran out of vacation time, and we completed twenty three tournaments. In 2019, PIG became an S-Corporation, and I hired two Tournament Directors. PIG expanded to more states, such as Hawaii, Arizona, Alaska, and Colorado. We sharpened our skills with forty-six tournaments that year and were on a roll.

What is the craziest pickleball tournament you hosted? Theme? Location? 

 Currently, the “Founders” Pickleball Tournament on Bainbridge Island in August is the most unique. The Bainbridge Historical Museum hires Pickleball Is Great to manage the player experience for the five-day tournament. The first two days are for seniors, and the next three days are for all ages. We had a “wooden paddle” event on day one so that all players could keep a commemorative wooden paddle from a scramble round-robin. We have also been fortunate to offer a tour of the original first court each year that visitors truly enjoyed!

Who is the ideal customer for Pickleball Is Great? And what types of tournaments have you hosted so far? 

The company was formed to help bring fun and competitive tournaments to the everyday player. We continue to focus on the very basic expectations of starting on time, ending early and getting to happy hour together.

While Pickleball Is Great hosts many self-created and independent tournaments, many clubs, organizations, and facilities are finding the value of outsourcing to an expert. Our latest project is the “United Pickleball State Championship” Series—an all-amateur series created by the PPA leading to the Nationals in Dallas in November. Pickleball Is Great is managing sixteen of these! 

What do you think the future holds for pickleball?

 As the economics of pickleball shift, so do the organizations’ priorities. Pickleball Is Great is staying focused on an excellent player experience every time. We are training and expanding to bring more GREAT tournaments as the demand continues to grow over the next three years. After that, I expect some consolidation in the market, and PIG will be agile and prepared for whatever happens.   

What is in the near future for Pickleball Is Great? Where do you hope to take the company? 

 As more facilities are built, the ability to produce revenue and profits will drive the need for Pickleball Is Great in many states. We are hiring and preparing for another growth cycle. PIG has the ability to manage tournaments of all sizes and formats. The larger facilities will have the greatest need, and we are prepared right now to make a successful plan for the future.  

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