Top-ranking professional pickleball players earn between $50,000 and $200,000 a year. Their compensation is split across prize money payouts, sponsorship from brands, and money earned from coaching pickleball.
Here’s How Much Pro Pickleball Players Make
Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, meaning the sport’s stature and economic weight are also growing. However, unlike pro tennis players and those in more established sports, professional pickleball players can’t make a living from playing tournaments alone.
Instead, most pro pickleball players earn their living from a combination of prize money payouts, coaching, and endorsements.
The best professional pickleball players can make up to $200,000 a year—impressive compensation but far lower than the best professional tennis players. For example, Roger Federer made $90 million in his last year before retirement!
The biggest chunk of this money usually comes from gear endorsements and sponsorship opportunities with brands like Selkirk Sport, which sponsors many pro players.
Top players, such as Ben Johns, Tyson McGuffin, Simone Jardim, and Zane Navratil, win enough matches that the second-biggest section of their earnings come from tournament payouts.
Most professional pickleball players earn most of their income coaching beginner pickleball players.
Tournament Prize Money
Pickleball tournament prize money can vary massively depending on the size of the tournament.
|Tournament||Prize Money (Per Winning Player)|
|World Pickleball Tour||$125|
|Pro Pickleball Association||$1,335-$3,535|
|USA Pickleball National Championships||$2,500|
|Major League Pickleball||$25,000|
At the lower level, The World Pickleball Tour runs many regional events. These have a small prize pool of roughly $5,000, which means the winning players only receive $125 each. When you factor in the $70 entry fee, it’s clear there is little money to be made in lower-level pro pickleball.
However, at higher levels, this prize pool payout increases dramatically. The Pro Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour claims to offer the ‘highest payouts in the sport of pickleball to professional pickleball players.’
Their major tournaments offer a payout of $1,335 for men’s and women’s singles champions and $3,535 for men’s, mixed, and women’s doubles teams.
At the 2019 USA Pickleball National Championships, the champions received $2,500 from a total prize money pool of $80,000. The biggest payout in the world currently belongs to Major League Pickleball. They host three events a year, each offering $100,000 in prize money for the winning four-player team—a whopping $25,000 each!
Sponsorships and Endorsements
Pickleball might be a new sport, but as one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide, brands quickly realize this is an opportunity to gain a foothold early.
Sometimes this comes from pickleball-specific manufacturers looking to tie their name to the top players worldwide. For instance, Tyson McGuffin is the brand ambassador for Selkirk Sports.
However, it isn’t only pickleball brands getting in on the game. Tyson McGuffin is also sponsored by Skechers, while tennis company Joola sponsors Ben Johns.
Winning tournaments and securing gear sponsorships sounds glamorous. This is the image most people have in their heads when imagining being a professional pickleball player. However, only top players manage to make their money this way.
For 90% of professional pickleball players, most earnings come from coaching. There are plenty of opportunities to get work teaching the game to new players or helping more advanced players to hone their skills.
Though pickleball coaching doesn’t bring in the fame or big payouts of playing, it can be a much more steady income. Coaching can earn as little as $10 an hour per person to as much as $50 or $100 per hour, depending on the renown of the coach and the facilities being used.
How to Make Money as a Pickleball Player
If you’re looking to make money as a pickleball player, the best way is to work on your skills and develop your skill level. You’ll need a skill level rating of 4.5 or above to enter professional events.
Once you’ve reached that level, look for coaching work. This can either be done on a freelance basis (setting up your own business and working independently) or by joining a pickleball club as a salaried coach.
While coaching, start entering as many professional and amateur pickleball tournaments as possible. Though you might not make much prize money, you can earn attention for winning tournaments, potentially catching the eye of sponsors.
Playing a professional sport for a living is a demanding but rewarding profession. You need talent, motivation, and a lot of resilience—but the rewards at the end can make it all worth it.
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