While pickleball popularity continues to pervade worldwide, here in the USA it's only a matter of time before states and regions start laying claim to something Americans are known for: regional sports pride.
While we'd love to believe that pickleball is equally popular everywhere, there are inevitably pockets of this country where the sport is on the tips of more tongues – or, in this case, of keyboard-tapping fingertips.
ZDNet recently recapped a Selkirk report which analyzed geographical data from Google Trends across the 50 states for terms like "pickleball," "what is pickleball?" and "pickleball rules."
Selkirk then scored each state by the search terms to establish which of them was the most interested in pickleball based on search popularity.
So what are the top pickleball-curious states in the nation? The answer may surprise you.
States Where Pickleball is Most Popular
Colorado made the top five, with residents there searching "pickleball" at the second highest rate and "pickleball rules" at the fourth highest rate among all 50 states.
Of course, Florida ranked highly on the list at number three.
"Not surprisingly, states known as retirement destinations scored high. While not exclusive to any one demographic, Pickleball has been popular with an older crowd as a form of competitive exercise that's easy on the body. Retirees presumably have more free time, as well." – ZDNet
Arizona claimed second place, particularly due to the higher search traffic surrounding "pickleball lessons." We wish we had demographic data available to determine if that traffic was coming from retirees who love desert weather, or younger people who played pickleball in school.
The state with the most Google search traffic surrounding pickleball is – *DRUMROLL* – Utah!
...Did you just have to check your eyes reading that? We did at first. Of all states, why is Utah the one most curious about pickleball?
According to the article, Selkirk believes Utah's 178 pickleball courts rank as the 25th highest number of any geographical area in the world. So it could be a "top-of-mind" situation where residents see courts (and players in action) and wonder to themselves, "that looks fun, what is it?"
It's either that, or there's not much to do in Utah. Maybe column A, column B.
Results Don't Paint the Whole Picture
While Google search traffic data illustrates many general truths about the relative popularity of pickleball, it can't quite tell us the whole story.
For example: you'd think a state like California, the most populous state in the country, would rank highly on this list. But according to ZDNet, it didn't even crack the top 10 states where pickleball is most searched.
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Is that because Selkirk's study didn't consider the correct search terms, leaving out other popular phrases people type into Google? Is it because people in California are simply too busy playing the game to waste time Googling it?
We're betting on the latter.