How many times have we heard the same platitudes about pickleball growth from national news outlets? "The game is growing because it's accessible, affordable, has a low learning curve, can turn peoples' lives around," etc. We're glad the press is so alert, but really, it's participation driving growth, not the stories you see online...
...Don't take that as a sign that you should stop reading, of course. The good thing about "pickleball is on the rise"-type articles like this is that once in a while, they really do their homework, illustrating participation and investment in the sport with fascinating research.
Take this recent CNBC video's most noteworthy findings:
- 40 million – number of predicted pickleball players by 2030
- +11.5% – average annual growth of players over the last five years (tennis grew by +4.2%; badminton actually went down by -3.7%; ping pong is down by -1.2%)
- 45.1% of pickleball players make over $100,000 in annual income; 37.9% make between $25,000 and $74,999
- 70 – number of countries pickleball is currently played in (to qualify as an Olympic sport, it needs to be played in at least 75 countries)
Like we said above, it's participation that drives these surging numbers. But that participation doesn't just come from players.
The video also illustrated how investors are doing their part to ensure pickleball's future is bright:
- $256.2 million – predicted value of the pickleball paddle market by 2028; it was $152.8 million at the end of 2021
- +30 to 40% – retailer Pickleball Central's sales increase between 2020 and 2021
- The cost of investing in Major League Pickleball teams has recently reached seven figures
The video balanced all of this positivity with a blunt warning for pickleball, highlighting an issue the industry is already painfully aware of – the need for space.
According to CNBC's count, only 38,140 courts are currently available for almost 5 million players. If 40 million players are predicted by 2030, that means almost 280,000 additional courts will need to be built to meet demand.
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