Is Pickleball a Fad? 7 Reasons Pickleball is Popular in 2024

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Pickleball is America’s fastest growing sport, and for good reason. Beyond players of all ages picking up a racket to play at their local courts, pro pickleball is gaining traction across the country too between Major League Pickleball (MLP) and the Pro Pickleball Tour. 

But why the heck is pickleball so popular all of a sudden? And will the hype last? 

While we might be a bit biased here at the Pickleball Savant, we think that the pickleball trend is just getting started and will be here to stay. Not convinced? Don’t worry, we have valid reasons and relevant data to prove our point!

Follow along for your inside view into why pickleball is so popular and why it isn’t just a fad.

What is Pickleball?

If you’re not sure what pickleball is, it’s not surprising you might think it is just a trend.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. 

Players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net. It can be played both indoors and outdoors on a court that is roughly half the size of a tennis court. You can play pickleball singles (1-v-1) or doubles (2-v-2).

Is Pickleball Just a Trend?

The data seems to suggest that pickleball will continue to get bigger. It is the #1 fastest growing sport in the USA, As explained by USA Pickleball, “pickleball participation almost doubled in 2022, increasing by 85.7 percent year-over-year and by an astonishing 158.6 percent over three years…Pickleball is now up to a total of 8.9 million players in the United States over the age of six years old, an increase from 4.8 million in the 2022 [Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) Topline Participation Report]

As for the pickleball trends in 2023, the number of searches on Google have skyrocketed year / year. With only a slick downtick in recent months in Q3 2023, searches in recent months are drastically higher than they were at the same time last year and the years prior.

Google Trends data on ‘pickleball’

Now, here are some facts that prove pickleball is popular and will continue to be.

Reasons That Pickleball is More Than a Fad 

Pickleball has lasting power. People of all ages are picking up paddles, and the pros are getting more investment and celebrity endorsements.

Here are 7 reasons that pickleball will remain popular at a glance:

  • People of all ages can play
  • Celebrities are getting involved and investing in pickleball
  • Communities across the country are building courts
  • People are realizing the health benefits
  • Pro teams and events are popping up across the country 
  • More competitive tournaments and leagues
  • Sports bettors can now bet on pickleball 

1. People of All Ages Can Play

Pickleball takes less of a physical toll on your body than tennis or other sports, while still being competitive, fun, and a great way to socialize. 

While pickleball is certainly popular amongst middle-aged and elderly players, younger players are picking up pickleball too. There are millions of Americans in all age ranges that play the sport already, and more are guaranteed to pick up a racket for casual or competitive play.

2. Celebrities Are Getting Involved and Investing in Pickleball

Household name celebrities have brought attention to the sport with big-time investments in professional pickleball teams. Celebrity team-owners and investors in Major League Pickleball and the Professional Pickleball Tour include:

  • Lebron James
  • Tom Brady
  • Drake
  • Michael B. Jordan
  • Mark Cuban
  • Kevin Durant
  • Dierks Bentley 

Annheuser-Busch has also invested in multiple MLP teams across the nation. 

Stephen Colbert will also be hosting a 2023 celebrity pickleball tournament on . According to IMDB, the celebrities playing in the tournament include include “Jimmie Allen, Murray Bartlett, Dierks Bentley, Jaime Camil, Will Ferrell, Max Greenfield, Luis Guzman, Phil Keoghan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tig Notaro, June Diane Raphael, Kelly Rowland, Paul Scheer, Aisha Tyler and Emma Watson. Cari Champion, John Michael Higgins and Bill Raftery.”

Learn more about Celebrities That Play and Have Invested in Pickleball.

3. More Communities Continue to Invest in Pickleball Courts

Accessibility to pickleball courts has spread rapidly as both private and public courts open across the country. Indoor and outdoor courts are available all over the place in states like Florida and California already, and municipalities everywhere continue to build them.

As explained by USA Pickleball, “the number of USA Pickleball-registered facilities in North America totaled 10,724 at the end of 2022, an increase of 1,557 locations or approximately 130 new locations per month.”

4. People Are Realizing the Health Benefits

Active and typically non-active players alike can reap the health benefits of pickleball, which is why it has become a popular exercise option for people of all ages.

Commonly reported health benefits of playing pickleball include:

  • Cardiovascular Health: Enhances heart and lung efficiency through aerobic exercise.
  • Flexibility & Agility: Improves range of motion and quick movements.
  • Muscle Strength: Engages and tones various muscle groups.
  • Weight Management: Helps burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Balance & Coordination: Refines hand-eye coordination and stabilizes body movements.
  • Mental Health: Reduces stress, boosts mood, and promotes social interaction.
  • Bone Density: Weight-bearing activity can help maintain bone strength.
  • Improved Reflexes: Fast-paced game hones reaction time.
  • Low Impact: Gentler on joints compared to high-impact sports.
  • Endurance: Longer play can build stamina and resilience.

5. Pro Pickleball Teams and Events are Popping Up Across The Country

Major League Pickleball has 24 teams across 13 states including California, Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Utah, Illinois, Ohio, Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, Washington, and Wisconsin.

MLP tournament locations in 2023 include 

  • Mesa, AZ
  • Daytona, FL
  • San Clemente, CA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Dallas, TX

Fans nationwide are getting into their local pickleball teams, and the continued investment in developing the sport is a solid side that pickleball is not just a phase.

6. More Competitive Leagues and Tournaments are Picking Up

Indoor and outdoor pickleball leagues and tournaments are popping up as competitive players drive up demand for more competitive play.

7. Sports Bettors Can Now Bet on Pickleball

Sports betting continues to rise in popularity as casino brands announced record profits in recent quarters. And since Q3 2023, Major League Pickleball is officially available to bet on in 10 US States (and Ontario, Canada) “FanDuel told Forbes Betting the other pickleball betting jurisdictions are Ontario, Louisiana, Connecticut, Illinois, Wyoming, Michigan, Tennessee, Colorado and Washington.”

Based on the data that Americans spend millions per month betting on foreign ping pong leagues, it’s not a stretch to think that this new development will bring new fans to the sport that enjoy gambling.

Pickleball is Popular & Will Continue to Be

Clearly, between people of all ages playing pickleball and professional pickleball expanding rapidly, pickleball is not a fad and will be a popular sport for years to come.

Looking to get into pickleball yourself? Get the latest pickleball tips and pickleball news from the leading expert in all things pickleball: the Pickleball Savant.

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