Senior Pro Podium Medal Counts and Prize Money Winnings
Authored by: Waggish
I posted articles recently with updated medal counts and podium prize money for the pros. I also wanted to give some love to the senior pros and that’s what this post is about.
I counted medals and podium winnings for senior pros in all APP tournaments except Indianapolis, Sacramento, Alabama Open. Those were excluded only because I had already excluded them for the non-senior pros counts. I excluded PPA tournaments because their brackets were small. However, I did include the Tournament of Champions, Nationals and the US Open.
In total, there were 80 players who won medals at these tournaments. Anyone can win but there is a clear domination at the top of the senior pros who play most of the tournaments. If you want to know how any specific person did, let me know in the comments below.
The first table shows who dominates in MD or WD with the most Gold medals (sorted by Gold doubles total). Beth Bellamy has a comfortable margin in front. Then Nathalie Bagby. They partner together a lot, thus their close counts. The next woman doesn’t show up on the list until Anna Shirley with 5 golds.
The next table shows who dominates when you combine the most medals for both MD/WD and MXD (sorted by doubles total). Again Beth Bellamy dominates but only by 1 over Rick Witsken. Rick Witsken partners with Beth in MXD.
The final medal table shows singles (sorted by total singles medals). There are only 4 women who win gold. 14 women have medaled. Jennifer Dawson has gold medals only. There are only 3 men who won a gold in singles in 2022 while 17 men have medaled.
So if you think you get tired of seeing Ben Johns dominate in pro singles, think about how the seniors feel about Mattias. I see Mattias in PPA tournaments too so he, along with Dave Weinbach, have medals and PPA prize money along with what is shown in the winnings charts.
The next set of charts show podium winnings for singles, doubles, and combined. Clearly, no senior is getting rich doing all those tournaments but the top numbers are not insignificant. See my post for regular pros for how I used the data I found for winnings.
As a brief synopsis, I’ll tell you what I included for the seniors. With the data I had collected, I was only able to calculate winnings for podium medals: gold, silver, bronze. The players may have had other earnings in the tournament depending on type of tournament such as a 4rth place finish. Some of the tournament winnings had to be estimated and I document those cases. PPA Senior open are small brackets so their total payout available will likewise be small, almost inconsequential for many of the tournaments from my brief glance at some of them.
Senior payouts are for APP (with exclusions noted) plus these: US Open, Tournament of Champions (TOC) – used the formula, USAP Nationals
APP uses a tier system but it’s not the same payout for each tier. There could be a significant difference in payout for the same tier! I used the amounts shown on the APP Tour website. However, they did not disclose some tournaments. For those, I averaged the payout based on tier level. The amount is probably close but will not be 100% accurate. Not all tournaments had a Senior singles brackets. For Senior TOC payouts, I used the formula from PPA for Senior Open Payout. I plugged the actual number of teams/singles for each event into the formula.
2021 US Open prize money comparison to 2022: Seniors Gold Doubles stayed the same at $3000. Seniors Gold Singles went from $1200 to $1500. I couldn’t find USAP Nationals 2021 prize money to do a comparison on its change. This year it paid seniors $7500 for doubles gold and $2000 for singles gold.
**Exclusions: APP Indianapolis, Sacramento, Alabama Open
**APP Tour did not answer my question to them about the missing data on its website for Mesa Open #1, Boca Raton, Cincinnati, and Beer City. So I estimated. Please see my article on regular pros for details.
All charts are sorted and I had to cut it off at some point. Otherwise, each chart would have been very lengthy with 1 or 2 medal winners. As I mentioned, 80 medal winners total.
Let me know in the comments if you want data on a specific medal winner.
9 thoughts on “Senior Pro Podium Medal Counts and Prize Money Winnings”
Thank you very much for all your hard work. Have a great New Year.
Likewise, thank you for tracking this down. Even Gigi Fernandez made the list. Its interesting that Weinbach is 10th on the list — he can’t be happy about that. You didn’t count PPA winnings, so that might bring him up some, even though the payouts were low. How much did Stephanie Lane, Barry Waddle, and Tao make?
Do you have any news on a senior MLP circuit next year?
Old: Lane doesn’t show so she never medaled. Tao shows $550 for 1 medal. Waddle shows $375 for 1 medal. Rick Witsken posted on NML’s facebook page:
” In 2023 the outlook is not nearly as bright from a financial payout perspective for the Champions players. I will be reducing my tourny play significantly to focus on the National Pickleball League-For champions players by champions players. One of the primary goals will be to showcase the insane talent of pro seniors.”
Adam and Rob’s podcast said they heard APP is drastically reducing their payouts. Rick’s statement seems to confirm that. I expect Dayne will do the same as Rick – focus more on NPL combined with the teaching/coaching than playing the tournaments for little money.
What I expect you’ll find in the senior circuit is that is will be mainly “regional”. So you will see a lot of names on the podium that you never heard of and may not see again for the entire year. Just my speculation. If you want to be in the senior fan club, best bet is to follow their NPL. I tried to watch one podcast on the NPL but it dragged on too much without any real info so I stopped listening.
Thanks, more good stuff, Waggish. Lane won (I think) mixed with Weinbach at the Redrock Open, but that was a PPA event.
Also appreciate the Witsken quote. Do you know what he means by “Champions players.” From your comment, I wonder if it means players on the APP tour? Or many he means senior pros? He later used the uncapitalized term “champions players” when he mentioned the National Pickleball League.
I had not heard of the NPL — web search suggest it is sort of rec play with teams. I thought Witsken was starting a senior pro league in the MLP format with some decent prize money (compared to the small amounts the senior pros are earning now).
“Champions” was APP’s euphemism for Seniors 🙂
OLD: Thanks for all your questions. Looks like there have been some changes.
First: here’s what the NPLpickleball.com website says:
The National Pickleball LeagueTM (NPL) has announced the formation of a nationwide team competition for Champions Division (50+) professional pickleball players. Launching in mid-2023, team owners will select the city they represent, as well as building their team through a live player draft that will include the division’s biggest stars. The League will feature current #1 ranked players, Beth Bellamy and Rick Witsken, along with national champions, Jennifer Dawson and Dayne Gingrich. Additional player commitments include the remaining top five women, Nathalie Bagby, Anna Shirley, and Eva Welsher. Pickleball icon and multiple Major title winner Scott Moore has also committed to the League, along with top men’s players Scott Crandall and Jose Derisi. ”
It is a poor choice of naming because like you found out – too many conflicting names/websites when you do a google.
APP at one point put out an announcement and rebranded their senior pro tour as the champion pro tour. They seemed to have dropped that now. Nothing anymore on the apptour.org website. Even more confusingly, the USAP now has taken up a similar sounding name in their “Championship series”. Per their press release:
“USA Pickleball, the National Governing Body for the sport of pickleball, today announced the schedule for the 2023 USA Pickleball National Championships Series (NCS), also known as The Road To Nationals. The 2023 NCS will be comprised of five tournaments held across the country that serve as primary qualifiers for the sport’s premier event, the USA Pickleball National Championships. USA Pickleball also announced that next year’s National Championships will be held Nov. 4-12, as it returns to Pickleball Paradise at the world-class Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.”
PPA has said their pros won’t play at US Open. Some people have claimed they won’t play Nationals either. I can see US Open because lots of pros didn’t like it and they didn’t pay out as much as a PPA tournament. But pros liked Indian Wells so we’ll see what happens there. I’m sure NML will be on top of it.
Thanks for all the hard work. This type of info is so hard to find (especially for senior events) and it so disjointed between diff. tours, etc., that I’m sure it was a ton of work. Can you share your opinion on the state of senior pro events/prize money, etc. on the various tours and which you think are better than others, and which you think are dying away? Seems the 50+ category is changing rapidly but not always for the better.
Rick: re: seniors. I quit tracking the seniors for 2023. The PPA never had a big turn-out. And many of the seniors dropped off APP once APP reduced their payouts. The very few times I’ve looked at APP this year, it seemed very regional on who got the medals. In other words, the seniors will enter tournaments near them but won’t travel nationally like they did previously — with, of course, some exceptions. The seniors have started their own league: https://nplpickleball.com/ and hopefully it’ll attract some good prize money for them. The state of seniors could change as we get some new faces “come of age” so we’ll see what happens next year and beyond.
We can go more deep dive at some point. It probably comes down to what people care about and not enough people are interested in watching seniors. At the end of the day, you need fans to make a sports product viable. This may be a topic we’ll get into down the road in more depth.