Why will pickleball players pay when many play for free right now?
Free and low cost pickleball courts do not provide the quality, court availability, amenities and other features the market is starting to demand. This simple fact has created a supply and demand issue vis a vis available court time. The creation of more indoor courts will provide what many picklers are looking for:
- Court quality. Once you’ve played on a smooth, well-lined court and a firm, precisely positioned net structure, it’s hard to go back to the gym floor, cracked asphalt and temporary nets that most of us learned on.
- Court availability. An increasing problem at public courts is over-crowding leading to longer wait times. Clubs can manage this process better than most open-play setups.
- Optimizing play for various levels. At the park, open play can be great fun, but can also result in pitting players with huge disparities in skill. Open play will still exist, even at clubs because it’s fun and loose, but those wanting to play against their own level will enjoy more options.
- Creative Programming. A successful pickleball club is providing a variety of player events and experiences beyond simple open-play.
- Amenities. Things like temperature control, comfortable seating, easy access to food and beverages, retail gear, proper lighting, storage areas and showers create a more inviting experience.
- Community. More structured community building efforts like charity tournaments, pro visits, specialty clinics and after-play events can be really fleshed out in a club setting.
Of course there will always be free or low cost play somewhere in your community. That’s great, it brings new folks into the sport! Some people will never choose to join or pay….but many will. There are also those who will do both. They will play at the public courts during nice weather and low-crowd times, but choose the club during bad weather and overcrowded times. If you are considering the launch of a pickleball center or pickleball club, you will need a strategy address court quality, court availability, level-play, programming, amenities and community.
Questions to address when launching the perfect pickleball club
- How many courts makes sense?
- What’s the best lighting, court and fence layout?
- How much do I need amenities?
- What’s the best booking system?
- How do I maintain Creative programming?
- Community building?
- Indoor and outdoor options?
- Membership or “pay to play” or a hybrid revenue model
We have assessed a variety of new Pickleball club operations to learn best practices and strategies. Cutting edge entrepreneurs are leading the way and cool tactics are emerging in each of these areas.
Pickleball Business Advisors is brothers Bill and John Pryor. We provide a variety of consulting services based on extensive experience in fitness business development, and research into the fast growing pickleball marketplace. To initiate a feasibility assessment for your pickleball club, or for other consulting, contact us so we can learn about your project.