Pickleball is growing in popularity in the US, especially among retired individuals. This is because it is a great way to stay active, socialize with others, and have fun. Today, there is a very strong Pickleball community as there are more than 2 million people playing this unique sport in the US. The International Pickleball Federation has ranked the US number one in terms of the number of tournaments, the number of players, the number of courts, and the number of new courts being built.
What is Pickleball, exactly?
It's a sport which originated in Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1965 that combines the elements of tennis, badminton, and pingpong. It is played with a paddle and plastic ball with holes. It is played on a badminton sized court, with a tennis-like net, and a pingpong-like paddle. It is a fantastic sport to be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill level. However, a professional Pickleball player can earn anywhere from $50k to $300k a year.
An Overview of the Game and its Rules
For those interested in getting started, rules are fairly straightforward. The basics of the game and rules can be found here. One major thing to highlight, however, is the Pickleball non-volley zone or kitchen rule. It is probably the most infamous rule in this sport. Essentially, the kitchen rule prohibits you from touching the kitchen zone or line while volleying a ball. The kitchen zone is the section of the court that is 7 feet away from both sides of the net and extends to each sideline.
What about Pickleball Sponsorship?
Aside from income earned through joining and winning sponsored tournaments, a pro athlete in this very niche sport can also earn through various Pickleball sponsorship deals and programs, with one of the highest contributors being paddles and other gear sponsorship opportunities. A pro sponsored player usually partners with brands to create content promoting "the new paddle" or any other Pickleball gear or apparel.
On the other hand, Pickleball paddle and apparel brands such as Selkirk Sport and Paddletek have supported and sponsored various tournaments to gain exposure for their respective brands as well. Demands and requests for brand ambassadors have also increased significantly since 2019. Selkirk Sport for example, who is the leading Pickleball accessories and paddle brand in this sport have increased the incentive pool for its players and competition by more than 50% between 2018 and 2019 to $300k!