Opening a pickleball club

Consider these recent stats about the pickleball market:

  • Participation increased 158.6% over three years.
  • Pickleball growth resulted in 8.9 million Pickleball players in the United States over the age of six, up from 4.8 million in 2022. More data.

If you are a pickleball player and someone in business, and if you have an entrepreneurial bone in your body I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself: “this is an insane-growth market and there has to be some great opportunities in it”.  Yes there are.  And like in any market, the people who get in reasonably early AND execute well, can build great businesses. 

At the core of all this is of course people playing pickleball on an actual court.  Right now, and for some time to come, there is a dire need for more courts.  There’s a capacity issue, a simple matter of supply and demand. 

If you’re sold on the market and believe as I do that this is not just a fad, then you’re considering investing in a pickleball club, or a pickleball facility. The business plan you create will need to consider a few unique dynamics of this market.

Business planning for a pickleball startup

  1. What are the players in your market used to?  Most are playing somewhere today, Is it indoors or outdoors? On what quality court?  Is playing time good?  Do they socialize, or just play?  What can you do to make everything better? What can you create so that people who are often playing for free….will pay.
  2. Do you have a detailed strategy to be sure the unique community vibe of pickleball is preserved and leveraged?   This is a critical element in the rapid growth of the game.
  3. A pickleball club is a capacity restricted business. Period. Optimizing revenue means filling courts. What is the strategy for optimizing court occupancy? (hint: think programming).
  4. What are the critical success factors related to cost-structure, especially rent and staffing. What can the model afford? What is needed to run the business.
  5. Membership and court rental are probably not enough. Building in ancillary revenue streams is something to plan from the outset.

Obviously any pickleball club business plan will project startup costs, operating revenue and expenses, and the financial viability.   At the end of the day, driving revenue will come down to how well you execute on the things outlined above.  These are the things that bring people in.  Where the rubber meets the court.

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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