Tom Brady and LeBron James also support this inexpensive and easy-to-learn sport of Pickleball
What started as a new activity for bored children in 1965 has suddenly become one of the popular sports. The ease of play, sociality, and low entry cost have raised the number to 36 million.
Get all the numbers and figures followed by a few concerns raised by this instant boom in Pickleball popularity.
Participation rates according to APP
The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) reported its data to CNBC, which showed a raging number of 36.5 million Pickleball players between August 2021 and August 2022. According to APP’s latest 2023 report, 14% of Americans played the game in the twelve-month period, and more than 8.5 million played the game more than eight times.
APP’s Chief Marketing Officer Tom Webb talked about the unimagined popularity of Pickleball, highlighting that none of them had thought the participation would go right next to other professional sports such as tennis, golf, and basketball.
With star athletes like Patrick Mahomes, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Tom Brady endorsing this sport, Pickleball has received high-profile attention. More investments are in order, and the sport is also drawing more sponsors to sign the deals.
The sport set a new attendance record during the pickleball tournament, according to the Co-Founder of Minto US Open Pickleball Championships. Terri Graham talked about the increasing enthusiasm and said they only expected 10,000 spectators but had over 35,000 attendees.
The growing popularity is directly helping equipment manufacturers such as Selkirk – a family-owned business that now sells pickleball gear to Costco, Walmart, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Tennis courts turned pickleball courts
Recently, tennis courts have been replaced with pickleball courts. The Santa Monica Tennis Center invested $250,000 to build a new pickleball facility in Southern California. Real estate developers outside of Sarasota have also financed $180 million in The Pickleball Club.
Likewise, the pickleball-inspired restaurant and entertainment model is also booming as more entrepreneurs are willing to capitalize on the obsession. Chicken N Pickle and Camp Pickle are the top two restaurants inspired by the pickleball craze. The founder of the latter, Robert Thompson, plans to expand his Camp Pickle facilities across the US by 2024.
Despite its growing popularity, people are also raising concerns regarding issues such as battling billionaires, bad behavior, and too many leagues. Following these concerns, two leagues merged, whereas others made changes to their protocols.