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Cup History

Bainbridge Island - Pickleball's Birthplace

It was on Bainbridge Island (known as Bainbridge by the locals) where Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell created the sport we know today as pickleball. While residing at Bainbridge in the summer of 1965, the three founders collaborated to create and design a new racquet sport that everyone could play and enjoy. Thus the name “Bainbridge Cup” was chosen to pay tribute to both the founding fathers and the birthplace of pickleball – the origins of a sport that is now played by millions of people around the world.

The Bainbridge Cup: the World Cup of Pickleball

The idea for an intercontinental competition evolved from pickleball’s rapid global growth experienced over the past few years. From 2010 onwards pickleball has extended into countries around the world and official tournaments are now being organized by a wide range of countries in different continents. To organize and drive the sport’s global expansion, the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) was formed. Soon after forming, the Federation’s member countries demonstrated a growing interest in organized international competition. To meet the growing demand the IFP created the Bainbridge Cup – a world stage to host pickleball’s first intercontinental team event. The inaugural Bainbridge Cup took place in Madrid, Spain in 2017. In 2018, the Bainbridge Cup was held in Montesilvano, Italy. In 2019, the Bainbridge Cup was held in Essen, Germany. In 2020, the Bainbridge Cup will be held in Nottingham, England. Team North America has won each of the first three Cups and must defend the Cup once again in England.

Bainbridge Cup Format

The Bainbridge Cup is the first intercontinental pickleball team event in the history of the sport. The format consists of competition among pickleball teams representing different continents. The teams participating in the inaugural event include: 1) North America (where the sport was founded) and 2) Europe (where the sport has seen tremendous growth in recent years). As the sport continues to expand around the globe more continents (teams) are expected to join the event to make it truly a global Cup competition. Participation is open to players at all playing levels, from elite to amateur, and several of the world’s top players will be taking part to represent their continent and compete to win the Bainbridge Cup trophy.