America’s obsession with pickleball isn’t slowing down in 2023.
More people appear to be taking up the fast-paced, paddle-based sport, with Google searches for “how to play pickleball” increasing by 284% from January 2020 to January 2023!
But which city is the most infatuated with this trendy sport and why?
Offers.Bet, US sports betting and online casino guide, went straight to Americans to get answers and analyzed hundreds of Google searches to determine the most pickleball-obsessed cities in the nation.
U.S. Cities Searching the Most About Pickleball
In a survey of 1,000 Americans, nearly 1 in 6 currently play pickleball, and 1 in 3 non-pickleball players are planning to try it out in 2023. This increase in interest may be due to changing perceptions of the sport. While many people originally considered it a sport for older generations, 77% now feel it’s a sport for both old and young people.
But where is pickleball popping up the most? According to our analysis, the most pickleball-obsessed city in the nation is a suburb of Kansas City: Overland Park. In 2023, the city welcomed a pickleball-based entertainment venue complete with courts, food, and bars! The other top three cities are Salt Lake City, Utah (#2) and Grand Rapids, Michigan (#3).
While the paddle sport can be played both indoors and outdoors, many of the top cities searching for pickleball are in warmer climates. Of the top 25 cities, four are from Arizona (Tempe #4, Scottsdale #11, Gilbert #20, and Chandler #22) and Florida (Port St. Lucie #6, Tallahassee #10, St. Petersburg #14, Orlando #18).
Reasons Americans are Playing Pickleball
Pickleball started becoming persistently popular during the pandemic in 2020, and the numbers back that up. 83% of current players started playing in 2020 or later. Many (37%) actually started playing in 2022!
The main reason most “picklers” do the sport is for fun. Players love it because it’s easy to learn (93%), and 96% say it’s affordable. On average, Americans estimate they’re only spending about $32 monthly when considering costs like leagues and gear.
95% of current pickleball players are planning to keep up with the sport throughout 2023. Nearly 1 in 6 (14%) have even played in a pickleball tournament. Pickleball players and non-pickleball players alike would be interested in going to a tournament. While 12% have had an opportunity to see a tournament, 41% want to go to one in the future! More than 1 in 3 even want pickleball to become an Olympic sport.
A big reason (39%) Americans feel pickleball is popular is because of its sociability. The community-building aspect of the game is drawing in non-pickleball players. Nearly 2 in 3 (63%) Americans would be interested in going to an entertainment venue that has pickleball and food like TopGolf, but instead of golf, you would play pickleball. 59% of those who expressed interest don’t currently play the sport.
The Divide Between Pickleball and Tennis
More than 4 in 5 (83%) pickleball players played a sport before trying out the trendy game. Pickleball has similarities to a variety of sports, including badminton, ping-pong, and tennis. While that can make it easy for skills to translate from one sport to another, there have also been reports of animosity between certain athletes: specifically, tennis and pickleball players.
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans play tennis, and of those, 28% also play pickleball. However, one problem with this burst in pickleball popularity is figuring out where to play. More than 1 in 4 pickleball players have had trouble finding places to play, and 72% wish there were more pickleball courts near them!
Others have turned to tennis courts to keep up their obsession with the addictive game. 2 in 3 (66%) play pickleball on tennis courts, but it’s not gone well for everyone. Of the picklers who’ve played on tennis courts, 33% say tennis players have gotten mad about it.
It appears Americans are on the side of the picklers. When asked which sport they consider to be elitist, 61% felt tennis is elitist. Similarly, when asked which sport is more accessible to beginner players, 77% chose pickleball compared to just 23% who chose tennis.
At the end of the day, whether you play tennis or pickleball, as long as you’re having fun, it’s worth it! But a word of caution for tennis players, pickleball won’t be going anywhere. 81% of Americans think it will just keep growing in popularity in 2023.
Maybe try it out! It can’t hurt to give it a shot.
To determine the most pickleball-obsessed cities, we compared the results of the 150 most populous cities in the United States according to the Census Bureau. We analyzed the Google search volume of 921 terms related to pickleball, including “pickleball courts near me”, “what is pickleball game,” and “beginner pickleball near me” over the period of January 2020 to January 2023.
In February 2023, we also surveyed 1,029 Americans to get their feedback about pickleball. 50% identified as male, 48% as female, and 2% as non-binary. Survey respondents ranged in age from 18 to 85, with an average age of 39. 50% were Millennials, 12% Baby Boomers, 23% Gen X, and 15% Gen Z
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