Pickleball clubs: a variety of approaches are emerging

Over the past 6 months we have fielded dozens of inquiries, and engaged a number of entrepreneurs to consult around their planning and startup. We are struck by their energy and passion — but also by the wide range of strategies and visions we’ve encountered.


As an example, we have brainstormed the pluses, minuses and issues around a variety of potential locations

  • Standalone former retail buildings
  • Former movie theaters
  • Common areas of indoor malls that have withered
  • Industrial park warehouses
  • Airplane hangars
  • Building from scratch in parking lots
  • Re-structured office space
  • Purpose built from scratch
  • Indoor/Outdoor combined concepts


One of the first decisions is the scale of the operation. Some are considering 4 courts with almost no amenities, a stripped down mode. More commonly, we are working on plans for 8, 10 or 12 courts. We’ve also discussed 18-24 court models and the issues around that scale

Another key discussion related to scale is how much square footage and energy will be devoted to off-court activity. Notably food & beverage, but also common areas, retail, and ancillary activities.

Revenue and pricing

There is quite a divergence in approaches relative to revenue. Some folks are “all in” on recurring revenue in the form of memberships. They have players paying monthly dues for unlimited play and benefits. Others have determined “pay as you go” is a better model. We’ve analyzed both these approaches and a number of combined approaches as well. What we recommend depends on a number of factors: competition, demographics, personal vision and more.

Another issue related to revenue is the development of multiple revenue streams. We believe the more offerings you have, the more likely you are to optimize your sales and net income. We’ve done a lot of thinking about how to weave this approach into an overall business plan.

The wild wild west

cowboy on rearing horse

The reality in this market is that it is early days. Hundreds or even thousands of new pickleball clubs will be opening in the next few years. Because it is early, there aren’t yet clear-cut, proven operating models. Innovative entrepreneurs are creating the market as we speak. As in any business, the operators that listen to their customers, adapt to their desires, and execute effectively will thrive. For true entrepreneurs this is gonna be a fun ride.

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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