This is not just your grandfather’s sport, ask your kids. The market is broad and the average age of pickleball players is dropping as more age groups pick up the game. There are now college and high school pickleball groups how far behind are college teams and scholarships! The factors that have always made the sport attractive to seniors, are true for other age demographics as well.
Average age of Pickleball players
Yes over, 55 is the largest group, but a close second is ages 18-34 (SFIA data). It is not unusual to see pretty darn good players in their 70s and 80s at most pickleball courts. In the past year, there’s a newer group showing up: teenagers. This shouldn’t be a surprise, the number one female player in the world is 16 and making a damn good living. It’s making its way into high school and college fitness centers, I hope someday one of my grandkids gets a pickleball scholarship!
The average age of pickleball players in 2021 is 38.1 years, down from 41 years in 2020. 27.8% of players are in the age bracket 18-34Source: SFIA
How I discovered a new pickleball age group
My first exposure to pickleball: several years ago, I was visiting my 32 year old daughter who lives in Lake Tahoe on the California side. One Friday she casually mentioned “…hey Dad, a bunch of us meet up after work and do pickleball, beers and barbeque, want to come play?…” My immediate reaction was: what? I thought pickleball was for old geezers; why were these cool Tahoe 30-somethings playing? They love it for all the same reasons us oldsters do, it’s just damn fun, and it tends to be highly social
A outlined in another article the appeal of pickleball flows from a few things: Accessibility, Laughter, Simplicity, Community, Strategy, and Exercise. Guess what? Every one of these are appreciated by folks of all ages. A pickleball club done well, is something makes people happier and healthier, how good is that?
Important pickleball business implications
This broad appeal is pretty unique amongst fitness businesses and it also has practical business implications.
- There are more potential players to draw from
- Different age groups prefer different court times meaning you can potentially fill courts all day long
- Coaching, clinics and tournaments can be filled by a variety of groups
The appeal of pickleball to a broad variety of age groups is one of the factors driving continued growth. Meteoric growth cannot continue forever but the broader the appeal, the less I am worried about a passing pickleball fad.
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.