A Florida home builder has hit on a new marketing niche that aligns perfectly with its 55+ buyer demographic.

Coconut Creek, Fla.-based Minto Communities is the title sponsor of the first-ever U.S. Open Pickleball Championships to be held in Naples, Fla., April 26 through May 1. More than 1,000 athletes are expected to compete for top prize money in the game that is considered by some to be the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. It combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis and incorporates two, three, or four players who use paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball — similar to a wiffle ball — over a net.

Minto's sponsorship is a win-win for both sides, according to USOPC president Terri Graham, noting the similar age range of Minto buyers and pickleball players. “It is the perfect partnership as Minto’s target audience is our target audience," she says. "Sixty-eight percent of pickleball players are over age 55 so there is a perfect correlation between our audience and Minto’s homebuyers.

The championship, which is expected to draw up to 10,000 specators, will be held in Naples for the next three years with the goal to make it an ongoing annual event. Minto executives anticipated the growing popularity of the sport by including pickleball courts in the company's newest communities, says Minto senior vice president William Bullock.

"We are proud to be title sponsor of this event that will introduce a dynamic and entertaining sport to residents and visitors, and attract competitors from throughout the world to Naples,” he says.