Investing in Pickleball

The pickleball phenomenon, primarily its insane growth, has sparked a flurry of investments in various niches.

  • Paddles, gear and accessories
  • Court construction services
  • Technology for operations
  • Communications and Media
  • Coaching and teaching
  • Professional leagues
  • Tournaments
  • Real estate
  • And our favorite: Pickleball Clubs….where the rubber meets the courts.

Our specialty is helping entrepreneurs launch dedicated pickleball clubs: typically indoor, membership driven, fitness businesses. There are literally hundreds opening in the near future, and in my opinion there will ultimately be thousands. We believe a well run club can compete and be nicely profitable if certain best practices are built into the original plan and nurtured.

Investing in a pickleball club. If you build it, will they come?

We hear primarily from 2 kinds of people. First people who live and breathe Pickleball and have personally witnessed the explosion in their communities. They understand the appeal because they’ve lived it. Secondly, we hear from business people / experienced entrepreneurs who recognize a rising tide and are looking for an angle to get involved. They don’t know pickleball, but they know it’s hot.

A Common mis-perception by both groups: Investing in a pickleball club is investing in a court-rental business. There is a temptation to do an overly simple calculation that goes something like this:

  • I have 8 courts open 14 hours a day, 3,360 hours a month
  • I will charge 50 dollars per hour
  • I will get 50% occupancy
  • Therefore I will gross over $1 million per year
  • Boom, I’m successful

If this is the essence of your model, and you build your staffing, marketing and operating strategy around it — we believe your business will struggle. Court rental will be a piece of the puzzle, but we believe it will need to be interwoven with a variety of other programming….and in fact will not even be the majority of revenue in many cases. An 8 court club can indeed reach $1 million per year and beyond, but not without a creative approach to programming, community building, offering cool experiences, and keeping players engaged.

Investing in a pickleball club means investing in your team and your strategy

Yes, you need to find a good facility, build nice courts and create an appealing space. But if you want to get off to a strong start, you’ll also need to invest in a team and an approach that builds a loyal repeat player-base. You need to convince players that have been playing for free, that they should pay. Just renting courts will not be enough to make the model work.

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! .

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: