Are you looking for cited, accurate pickleball statistics and facts? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’ve been playing pickleball for a while I’m sure you’ve been asked by friends or family, “why is it called pickleball?” or “What is pickleball and why is everyone talking about it?”
Does this ring a bell?
I’m sure you’ve heard that pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States and every year its popularity grows. But Let’s take a closer look into the specific growth and demographics of the sport.
Before we get into statistics, it’s worth giving a brief history of Pickleball.
Table of Contents
Pickleball’s Humble Beginnings
Pickleball was invented in the backyard in Bainbridge Island, Washington by three middle-aged dads just trying to entertain their kids in 1965
These pickleball pioneers were Joel Prichard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. Joel Pritchard was a congressman but more importantly a USA pickleball hall of fame inductee along with Bill and Barney.
There are a couple of reasons for the name pickleball.
- Joel Prichard’s wife, Joan called it pickleball because it reminded her of pickle boat sailors where the oarsman was chosen from leftover boat crews. Much like pickleball rules were chosen from different paddle and racket sports.
- Barney McCallum states otherwise. He said it was called pickleball after Joel Pritchard’s dog, Pickles.
Although it was invented in 1965, the first pickleball court was not constructed until 1967.
It makes you wonder if they would have named it differently knowing that 4.8 million people in the united states would be playing this game.
With amateur tournaments, a professional pickleball tour, certified player ratings, and pickleball courts being built all over the US the growth of pickleball has been monumental.
Growth Of Pickleball
Pickleball Growth In the United States
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the united states by a huge margin. In the last 5 years (2017-2021), pickleball has seen an average growth rate of 11.33% per year.
The biggest year for pickleball in the last 5 years was 2019-2020 (I’m sure you can guess why) with a 27% increase in pickleball players.
Here’s the raw data for the growth of pickleball over the last 5 years. At the average rate, it’s projected that there should be well over 5,000,000 pickleball players in the United States.
- 2017-2.85 million players
- 2018-3.1 million players
- 2019- 3.3 million players
- 2020- 4.2 million players
- 2021- 4.8 million players
Tennis Participation has gone down 5% from 2010-2018
In contrast with the huge growth of pickleball, tennis has actually lost participation. That being said there are a lot more tennis players than pickleball players, but pickleball is catching up.
According to tennisindustrymag.com, tennis participants have declined by 5% in 8 years whereas pickleball has seen a 68% increase in 5 years.
Growth Of Pickleball Globally
In 2021 Pickleball saw a new high of 4.8 million. The number of pickleball players has doubled in just 5 years in the United States.
The United States is just one of several countries experiencing this massive Pickleball movement.
61 Countries Have Joined the International Federation for Pickleball (IFP)
The International Federation of Pickleball has 61 countries that have joined and they are continuing to experience new growth.
You can view all the member countries here.
Pickleball Equipment Sales
Equipment Sales Are Booming
Factmr.com reported that pickleball equipment is forecasted to see a 9% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2020 to 2030.
Over that same time period, pickleball is forecasted to see $120 million in sales of equipment. Out of all the types of pickleball equipment (Paddles, nets, balls), pickleball paddles alone are going to account for about 2/3 of that value.
U.K. Pickleball Equipment Sales
The United States may be the leader in equipment sales now, but the U.K. is on track for an explosion.
According to Factmr.com, the U.K. market is set to expand by 9.5% CAGR between 2020-2030 with $110 million in sales.
Individual Buyers Are Responsible for 50% of Equipment Sales
Individual pickleball players make up 50% of the market compared to institutional buyers like clubs, or pickleball sports complexes.
With pickleball paddles selling for over $200 it’s not hard to believe this pickleball statistic.
Core Players Vs. Casual Players
USA pickleball categorizes a casual player is someone that plays pickleball 1-7 times a year whereas a core player plays more than 8 times a year.
Out of the 4.8 million pickleball players, only 1.4 million were core players who play pickleball 8 or more times a year.
From 2020 to 2021, the number of core players did not grow, but the number of casual players increased by 22%
Average Age of Pickleball Players
According to the 2020 Pickleball Participation Report, the average age of pickleball participants is 43 years old.
About 50% of the players range from ages 18 to 54.
Gender Demographics Of Pickleball
According to USA pickleball, about 60% of pickleball players are men and 40% are women, but women are growing faster every year.
Regions With Most Pickleball Participants (U.S.)
According to USA pickleball.
In the united states, the South Atlantic States (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, District of Columbia) boast the most popularity with pickleball with 1,087,000 players.
Coming in second with the most participants in the East North Central (Michigan, Wisconsin Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana) with 801,000 players.
The third is the Pacific (California, Oregon, Washinton) at 780,000.
In fourth place is Mid-Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia) with 675,000.
These 4 regions alone make up about 70% of all pickleball participants in the USA.
What States is Pickleball Growing The Fastest?
The states seeing the most growth in pickleball are West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) at 30% year-over-year.
How Many Pickleball Courts Are In The United States?
There are currently 38,140 pickleball courts in the united states according to Places2play.org.
Which States Has The Most Pickleball Courts?
According to Places2play.org, Massachusetts has the most pickleball courts in the united states with 472 courts.
Which States Have The Fewest Pickleball Courts?
According to Places2play.org, North Dakota has the least amount of pickleball courts with 2.
Pickleball started off as three dads playing a game to occupy their kids, to a sport that is played all about the world by millions.
It’s now the fastest-growing sport in America with professional associations and talk of being included in the Olympics.
Whether you’re a core player, casual player, or professional, seeing this game grow in popularity is special.
Pickleball not only occupies people, but it also builds stronger communities, better health, relationships, and well-being. It’s more than a game, it’s a lifestyle.