Pickleball has become increasingly popular among Americans, and now Walmart and Subway, two of the country’s largest chains, are eager to join the trend. This racquet sport, which combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, has been the fastest-growing sport in the US for the third consecutive year, according to a report by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Participation has increased by 158.6% over the past three years, with 8.9 million players over the age of six currently playing pickleball, up from 4.8 million in 2022.
In addition, consumer interest in pickleball as a leisure activity has skyrocketed by 275% compared to 2019, according to Yelp’s Remote Work Report. As a result, demand for pickleball courts has surged, prompting cities to build new facilities and private clubs to replace tennis courts.
The racquet sports booking platform Break the Love has partnered with Walmart to offer free pickleball reservations to Walmart customers, Walmart+ members, and store employees. This initiative will provide 125,000 comped reservations at pickleball venues nationwide and target making the sport more accessible to everyone.
According to Trisha Goyal, founder of Break the Love, the market price for pickleball court time, classes, and clinics ranges from $10 to $80 an hour. The reservations will include necessary equipment such as rackets and balls, and spots will be added on a first-come, first-serve basis every month throughout the year.
Customers can visit a landing page on the Break the Love website to access the free court time and purchase pickleball merchandise from Walmart.
Subway has introduced a new sandwich called the “Pickleball Club,” which will be available at all its restaurants nationwide starting April 27.
The sandwich chain has partnered with American tennis legend Andy Roddick to bring his “signature topspin on the traditional club sandwich by showcasing two new ingredients.” The sub features thicker, crunchier dill pickles and a new honey mustard sauce. The Pickleball Club is also crammed with double American cheese, Black Forest ham, crispy hickory smoked bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and red onions – all in their delicious Artisan Italian bread roll.
Subway sponsored the Pickleball Slam last Sunday at the Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. ESPN televised the event, which featured top tennis players, including Roddick, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, and John McEnroe, all competing for a $1 million prize.
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