Cool new pickleball concepts tap into increased demand for court play

The insane growth in demand for pickleball courts and facilities has driven a raft of new business startups around the country. The first wave of pickleball was played in driveways, streets, parking lots and re-purposed public tennis.  Then it was gyms, community centers, condo complex’s and custom-built pickle centers.  The latest?  Specialty concepts integrating elements of sports, games, shopping, food, beverage and community.  These new centers are taking advantage of the growing demand for pickleball courts.

Examples of pickleball businesses recently launched or in progress

Chicken n’ Pickle
Well established indoor/outdoor entertainment complex including a casual, chef-driven restaurant and sports bar, pickleball courts and a variety of yard games.  6 locations in TX, OK and KS, 3 more in the coming year.  Typical configuration is 10 courts, outdoor leisure space and emphasis on food and bar.

Pickle Juice
Smoothie and Juice bar in 13,600 square feet tied to 4 indoor courts.  Plans to open 2 locations in New Jersey in the coming year.

Bangers and Dinks (love the name)
A primarily court-driven concept planned to open this summer near Richmond, VA.  25,000-square-foot center with eight indoor courts.  Housed in a former retail spot next to a Dicks Sporting Goods.

Pickle n’ Chill
Indoor / Outdoor Pickleball Hub.  Six Dedicated Indoor Courts (Opened November 2022) Five Dedicated Outdoor Courts (Opening Spring 2023). Food and Beverage Lounge and Special Event space. Lessons, Leagues, Reserved Courts, Round Robins, Open Play, Tournaments, Corporate Events. Youth camps.

Pickleball clubs from 4-20 courts are popping up in small towns as well as cities and suburbs

Electric Pickle
Pickleball-themed entertainment complex is set to open in Tempe, AZ.   Plan is nine courts, as well as space for cornhole and bocce. Plans also include a two-story restaurant and three bars, including a rooftop bar and balcony, that can serve 600 guests. Lawn for live music and gatherings.  Electric Pickle’s first U.S. location and Eureka! Restaurant Group — the California-based parent company of Rockets & Pineapples, which backs Electric Pickle — plans to open more in Texas and the Southwest.

Best places to play pickleball

Smash Park
Since 2018, 2 locations in Iowa, planned for MN and NB.  4 indoor/2 outdoor courts at each location.  TVs, outdoor space, entertainment emphasis with offerting that include food, drink, special events, other games, community happenings.

Real Dill
High end retail destination concept with 7-10 pickleball courts at the core.  Family areas, other games, extensive shopping,  specialty classes on wellness and other offerings.  First one to open in St. Louis this year, future locations planned.

Few details and timing released other than its a $4 million project in Malvern, PA that will feature 16 courts and a full coaching program.  Seems primarily court-driven.

Goodbounce Pickle Yard
45,000 square feet in Louisville, KY.  Calls themselves an “eatertainment” complex with six pickleball courts, a game yard and a restaurant. They are partnering with a local restauranteur with a strong reputation   Will feature a rotating menu of fusion dishes like build-your-own tacos, burritos, nachos and bowls, gourmet burgers, fried chicken and small plates.  Launched by co-founder of a successful local micro-brewery.

Near Charleston, SC.  First announced in 2021, planned to open this year. The Pickle Bar is a new restaurant, retail and recreation concept that combines the growing popularity of pickleball with a southern-inspired bar and restaurant. Spanning over 40,000 sq/ft, the Pickle Bar will include a casual restaurant and bar, 9 outdoor pickleball courts, a game yard and a stage.

Camp Pickle
Planned for Huntsville, AL in 2024 will feature a “1940s national park/summer camp” motif, with food and beverage being 80% of revenues.   The indoor/outdoor locations are expected to measure 55,000-75,000 square feet, with 10-14 pickleball courts, plus other “old school” games such as darts and duckpin bowling.   Corporate and other events will be major piece of their plan.

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.

Author: Bill

Passionate pickler, entrepreneur, experienced fitness industry executive, startup specialist, business model consultant, mentor and advisor. Contact me to brainstorm, discuss or commiserate! .

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