Press release

Coppermine Launches Pickleball Social Brand with Restaurant Venues, Events, and Workforce Development Program
Copper Union Becomes ‘Maryland’s Pickleball Leader’ to help meet skyrocketing demand
Baltimore, May 16, 2023

With multiple locations and brands under its umbrella, Coppermine has become Maryland's largest destination for youth sports, camps, and family fitness since it was founded in 2011. Today the 12-year-old company announced that it is adding to its ever-growing portfolio with the launch of Copper Union – an adult-centric pickleball social brand with a series of restaurant-entertainment venues and event activations across the state of Maryland. Copper Union was created to help meet the skyrocketing demand for one of the country’s fastest growing sports and to expand Coppermine into the entertainment space. 

According to a recent report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals, more than 36 million people played pickleball from August 2021 to August 2022, 7 times more than the 5 million the previous year. Across the country, tennis courts are being replaced, and pickleball courts are being built. CNBC reports that only 38,000 courts are currently available nationwide while the sport is growing by millions of players each year.

“Given the rapid explosion in pickleball’s popularity, it’s no surprise that the region is racing to catch up to the demand,” said Alex Jacobs. “Coppermine has an undeniably strong track record of not only building brands to support the community’s need for recreation – whether it be sports programs and club teams, camps, or health & fitness facilities, but of developing premium physical spaces to accommodate them. If more than 40 million pickleball players worldwide are predicted by 2030, that means almost 280,000 additional courts will need to be built to meet demand. We’re in a great position to help meet some of those needs right here in Maryland and across the region.”  

While indoor and outdoor pickleball courts are currently available for use at Coppermine’s Bare Hills, Pikesville and 4 Seasons facilities, the company has begun the building process of the first two of its marquee venues in Reisterstown and Annapolis, with additional operations in development in the Baltimore Metro area including Mt. Washington, Odenton, South Baltimore, Towson, White Marsh, and Bel Air. Players will be able to “Join the Union” through a mobile app, enabling them to book courts digitally up to 30 days in advance across all of Coppermine’s Pickleball locations. 

Copper Union’s event programming will begin this summer, and the first phase of multiple venues will open this fall. The new restaurant and bar concept, Fire in the Kitchen, named after the fast play center area of a pickleball court, will offer an inventive chef-driven grill menu and bar program including paddles of “Picklebacks,'' and a mix of healthy and indulgent food selections. Guests that come to play will have the ability to take game breaks in the restaurant or bar, and arrange food and beverages to be delivered to their courtside cabana. 

“The atmosphere of Copper Union venues will be ideal to get together with friends, celebrate with family, enjoy happy hour, or to catch the big game,” said Chip Watkins, Copper Union’s Managing Partner. “Beyond the courts we are expecting to see people multiple times a week for meetings, leagues, happy hours, and social events, then back on the weekend for a session with family. Great food and beverage options, comfortable decor, exciting entertainment and event programming will draw in customers beyond the courts and engage the surrounding communities.” 

The Equity Project (EQ) is a workforce development program designed to maximize career opportunities and training needed to work and be successful in the entertainment industry. Dominic Nell, Director of the The Equity Project said of the development program, “This new Coppermine endeavor is going to create hundreds of jobs and thousands of opportunities. Copper Union will need to hire and train a significant amount of staff to run these venues. EQ and our partners across the State will provide this specialized training and are working to create equitable job opportunities for all Maryland residents. Ultimately, EQ intends to help source, train and manage the very people who will be so vital to Copper Union’s staff, and bolster a workforce that can support the sports and entertainment industry statewide.”

“Coppermine has been providing the Baltimore region’s premier youth sports and rec programming and facilities for over a decade,” added Watkins. “We see more than ever that adults are seeking active, social experiences. We realized this incredible opportunity to utilize our community, our expertise and our spaces to extend current venues and create new venues serving more than just pickleball. Our Copper Union concept will bring multiple, world-class Pickleball venues across the metro area that combine elevated dining with premium libations and formidable live entertainment. Work your body, relax your mind, feed your belly and spark your soul. Just search for Copper Union!”  

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