Why is Pickleball Popular in the USA: Reasons Behind Its Explosive Growth

Delve into the factors driving the widespread adoption and remarkable surge in popularity of pickleball across the United States.

Mike Hardy

Our exploration of the widespread popularity of pickleball in America uncovers many factors driving its remarkable expansion. Our extensive research underscores several factors contributing to its rise, including its accessibility to players of all ages and skill levels.

Pickleball’s Popularity in America

Pickleball's popularity in America can be attributed to various factors that have resonated with Americans across different demographics and regions. 

Over the past five years, Google Trends data reveals a consistent upward trajectory in pickleball search interest in America, indicating sustained popularity growth over time.

  • One significant reason for its popularity is its accessibility. The sport's simple rules and easy-to-learn gameplay make it appealing to people of all ages and skill levels, from children to seniors. 

  • USA Pickleball (USAP) has actively promoted the sport through grassroots initiatives, tournaments, and community events, contributing to its widespread adoption.

  • Social aspects also play a crucial role in pickleball's popularity. The sport's emphasis on doubles play fosters camaraderie and social interaction, making it a favorite pastime for friends and families. 

  • Many recreation centers, schools, parks, YMCAs, and private clubs are hosting the sport, increasing pickleball’s popularity.

Pickleball Health Benefits

Pickleball's popularity isn't just about fun and games but also about the myriad health benefits players enjoy. It's not just physical health that makes pickleball a hit; the game's social aspect contributes to overall well-being.

  • A study shows that pickleball can potentially improve people's mental health. Pickleball is noted for its inclusivity, requiring minimal adaptations to attract participants of all backgrounds. Engaging in pickleball is linked to increased life satisfaction and shows the potential to reduce symptoms of depression. (Source: frontiersin.org)

  • Pickleball offers mental stimulation and cognitive engagement; its energetic and joyful nature contributes to overall well-being. (Source: psychologytoday.com)

  • According to medical research, regular pickleball play can lead to a 12% increase in cardiorespiratory fitness. (Source: ijrep.org)

  • The sport helps improve hand-eye coordination, general movement, and muscular strength. (Source: recreation.duke.edu)

  • Pickleball's health benefits have also contributed to its popularity. With its fast-paced, aerobic nature, pickleball offers an excellent cardiovascular workout while improving agility, balance, and coordination. As more Americans prioritize health and wellness, pickleball has become an attractive option for staying active and fit. (Sources: health.com & apple.com)

Celebrities Who Play Pickleball

Pickleball's popularity isn't just confined to local community centers and parks – it's also caught the attention of some notable celebrities. From professional athletes to Hollywood stars, celebrities have embraced pickleball as a fun and engaging way to stay active and socialize. 

Their involvement in the sport has undoubtedly contributed to its widespread appeal, drawing more attention to the game and inspiring others to try it. 

  • Drake, Michael B. Jordan, LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Ellen DeGeneres have all invested in pickleball, contributing to its growing popularity. They have become involved in teams within the Major League Pickleball League, aiming to raise awareness of the sport and support its expansion.

  • Pickleball has attracted a diverse array of celebrity enthusiasts, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, Kim Kardashian, Bill Gates, Gary Vaynerchuk, George and Amal Clooney, Jenna Bush Hager, Michael Phelps, and Stephen Colbert. These high-profile players have helped increase the sport's visibility and appeal, contributing to its growing popularity among fans.

Pickleball Earnings and Prizes

With pickleball earnings and prizes becoming increasingly lucrative, it's no wonder the sport has soared in popularity.

  • The highest-earning pickleball player won $125,000 in prize money during the first three events of 2023. (Source: cbsnews.com)

  • Tennis legend Andre Agassi, alongside Andy Roddick, defeated John McEnroe and Michael Chang in a closely contested match and won the $1 million Pickleball Slam. (Source: marca.com)

  • A pickleball player has the potential to earn up to $300,000 annually through appearance fees, contractual minimums, and tournament winnings. (Source: cbsnews.com)

When Did Pickleball Become Popular?

Pickleball surged in popularity in the USA during the late 20th century, particularly gaining traction in the 2000s. While the exact year of its widespread popularity is difficult to pinpoint, the sport saw significant growth in participation, infrastructure development, and media coverage during this time. 

  • By the early 2010s, pickleball had firmly established itself as a prominent recreational activity, with a growing community of enthusiasts nationwide. Today, pickleball continues to thrive, attracting players of all ages and skill levels and earning recognition as one of the fastest-growing sports in America.

  • In 2022, "pickleball" emerged as a significant trend in the US, attracting considerable attention from domestic and international media outlets. Extensive coverage was given to the sport, marking it as one of the most talked-about activities of the year. (Source: usapickleball.org)

  • Pickleball's popularity has soared in the United States, experiencing an impressive 85.7% year-over-year increase and an astounding 158.6% growth over three years. The sport boasted 8.9 million participants in 2022, surpassing the number of pickleball enthusiasts in 2021. This surge underscores the remarkable expansion and heightened recognition of pickleball, emphasizing the need to utilize facility data alongside detailed participation breakdowns to capitalize on this trend. (Source: sfia.org)

  • This growth is further supported (70,000) by data from USA Pickleball (USAP), which reported a 30% increase in membership during the same period, indicating a growing community of pickleball enthusiasts. (Source: usapickleball.org)

Pickleball Popularity Among Different Age Groups and Gender

Pickleball, a rapidly growing sport, exhibits a diverse demographic profile among its players, encompassing various age groups and genders. 

  • Men constitute 60% of the total pickleball participants, while women account for 40%, indicating a slight gender imbalance within the sport. (Source: usapickleball.org

  • The 2023 APP Pickleball Participation Report, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the APP, reveals that approximately 14% of adult Americans, totaling 36.5 million individuals, engaged in pickleball at least once during this timeframe. Moreover, an estimated 8.5 million people participated in pickleball on eight or more occasions in 2022 alone. (Source: theapp.global)

Pickleball Popularity by State

Some states have witnessed a significant investment in pickleball facilities, including dedicated courts in public parks, recreational centers, and private clubs. California tops the list with its extensive network of pickleball courts, followed closely by Florida and Texas.

These states' favorable climates make outdoor play feasible year-round, contributing to the proliferation of pickleball courts. Additionally, states such as North Carolina, New York, and Ohio have emerged as hotspots for pickleball, reflecting the sport's nationwide appeal and growing popularity. 

Top 10 states with the most courts:

(Source: usapickleball.org)

Based on Google Trends data from the past five years, starting from 2019, the top five US states with the highest pickleball interest are as follows:

  • Utah

  • Arizona

  • Hawaii

  • Florida

  • Minnesota

    Is Pickleball More Popular Than Tennis

While the number of participants recording tennis workouts remained relatively consistent year after year, albeit with notable seasonal fluctuations, pickleball participation displayed a consistent increase, unaffected by seasonal variations.

In August 2023, 1,331 participants logged at least one pickleball workout, compared to 1,243 participants recording a tennis workout, with 106 participants engaging in both activities simultaneously. Over the 32 months under scrutiny, the cumulative count of participants engaging in either sport at any point reached 4,799 for pickleball and 7,780 for tennis. (Source: appleheartandmovementstudy.bwh.harvard.edu)

A comparative analysis of tennis and pickleball data in Google Trends over the past five years illustrates a surge of interest in pickleball from 2020 onwards.


In conclusion, our in-depth exploration of pickleball's widespread popularity in the USA has unveiled many factors contributing to its remarkable expansion. From its accessibility and social aspects to its myriad health benefits, pickleball has captured the hearts and minds of Americans across different demographics and regions. 

The sport's rapid growth, celebrity endorsements, lucrative earnings, and increasing recognition as one of the fastest-growing sports in America underscore its undeniable appeal. 

As pickleball continues to thrive and attract players of all ages and skill levels, its enduring popularity highlights its status as a beloved pastime and a cultural phenomenon in the USA.

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