Pickleball. An intriguing business opportunity. It feels familiar

There are interesting parallels to the boutique fitness rage of the past 20 years

In 2004 I co-founded one of the first spinning (indoor cycling) studios in the country.   It was a new concept tapping into a latent craving for quality fitness experiences. Ultimately we enjoyed considerable success and opened 200+ around the country,  During the same period, dozens of similar boutique fitness concepts enjoyed explosive growth and success.  The face of the entire fitness industry was transformed in those years because of boutique fitness; literally thousands of new businesses sprouted that are thriving today

Parallels to pickleball?

In the beginning spinning was hugely popular in community centers and gyms, but there were few dedicated businesses.  Most pickleball today is done on re-purposed tennis courts and in community centers, we’re at the very beginning of dedicated facilities. Demand is huge, court supply is low.

The attractiveness of spinning was established, we didn’t need to create it.  Our mission was to build on the core appeal of indoor cycling and make it an even better experience.   Similarly, the core appeal of pickleball is established;  successful pickleball clubs and facilities will need to build on that core.

Building on the core for indoor cycling  meant investing in better bikes, better sound systems, cooler studios, more efficient reservation systems and better instructors.  With pickleball, players want better courts, cooler facilities, quality coaching, and simpler access to court time.

With spin, yes it was exercise, but with a fun-ness to it and with a community vibe. That was a big part of the appeal.  With pickle, yes it’s exercise but it’s more than that, it’s fun, it’s community-driven, its’s social, and oh by the way, it’s exercise!

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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