How Popular Has Pickleball Become in America, and Why?
According to a report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals released exclusively to CNBC, over 36.5 million individuals played pickleball between August 2021 and August 2022.
Additionally, according to a 2023 report by Pickleheads and the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), participation in the sport has grown by an average of 158.6% over the last three years.
According to Sports Analytics, the number of people interested in pickleball has increased by 467% from 2017 to 2022, as per Google Trends.
Pickleball is popular because:
- It's addictive. As a person who hates exercising, I'm obsessed with pickleball. The game is fun and helps me stay active and meet new friends.
- It's easy to learn. Watching a few pickleball tutorials can teach all the basics of the game. I learned pickleball by watching YouTube videos and practicing heavily.
- Anyone can play it, and therefore, anyone interested can join.
- It's a slow-paced game that can help you stay healthy physically and mentally.
What Has Pickleball Grown at Rocket Speed?
Several factors have enabled pickleball to grow at rocket speed. They include:
- The pickleball community is friendly and welcoming, making it easy for more people to join. I’m a Pickleball Forum Facebook Group member and have seen numerous posts that show how welcoming pickleball players are.
- It's affordable. You only need a pickleball paddle, a pickleball ball, a court, and a net to begin playing.
- The inhibition of the pandemic. Pickleball popularity spurred during the pandemic. Between 2020 and 2021, pickleball grew by 39.3%. The pandemic forced people to seek recreation opportunities closer to home other than traditional team sports, and pickleball was an ideal option.
Are There Professional Leagues or Notable Tournaments I Could Join or Attend?
Yes, there are professional leagues and notable tournaments that you could join or attend.
- Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) tour: The PPA tour comprises top pickleball players competing for prize money, Franklin PPA points, and seedings. Any pickleball players can join the tournament by registering at ppatour.com.
- USA Pickleball Tournaments: Register as a new member at USAPickleball.org before joining the USA Pickleball tournament. You will be required to pay a membership fee of $35 annually. Next, set up your pickleball tournaments account by creating a new PT account.
- Major League Pickleball: Major League pickleball is among the most competitive leagues. Visit the site to learn about future games and how to buy tickets.