Pickleball’s growing popularity and the desire for unique experiences have led to its introduction in local malls. With the closure of traditional retail stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy, and Saks Off 5th, malls are seeking new tenants to fill vacant spaces and attract customers.
A Shift Towards Experimental Activities
The shift in consumer preferences towards experiential activities rather than traditional shopping has prompted malls to diversify their offerings.
Real estate investment firm JLL highlights the way malls are incorporating a broader range of tenants and activities to drive foot traffic. This trend includes not just pickleball but also other engaging experiences such as skydiving, virtual golf, and breweries.
By introducing these activities, malls hope to create an enticing and enjoyable environment for visitors.
Pickleball has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. As we know, it has become America’s fastest-growing sport, with a significant surge during the pandemic.
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, the number of people playing pickleball increased by 159% over three years, reaching 8.9 million players in 2022.
Overall, including pickleball in malls and establishing specialized pickleball venues highlight the sport’s growing influence and ability to adapt to different spaces and consumer demands.
The sport’s popularity and the need for mall revitalization have created a symbiotic relationship. Malls provide pickleball enthusiasts with much-needed spaces to build courts, while pickleball’s presence attracts a new demographic of customers to malls.
Consumers’ Evolving Tastes
This strategy aligns with consumers’ evolving preferences for enjoyable social experiences and contributes to the overall transformation of malls into experiential destinations.
Pickleball’s popularity has resulted in the emergence of courts in urban developments such as recreation centers, hotels, and retirement communities.
However, the sport’s rapid growth has also presented challenges for public parks, recreation departments, retirement communities, and country clubs. These entities must deal with limited space and funds while considering the interests of different groups. Juggling these challenges sometimes leads to conflicts with tennis players and neighbors who find the sound of pickleball bothersome.
As a result, pickleball is now finding its way into malls, where players can enjoy a game and conveniently engage in other activities like dining and shopping. Landlords and retail outlet operators see this as an opportunity to cater to pickleball enthusiasts while revitalizing their malls simultaneously.
One notable example is Pickleball America, a group that plans to transform an 80,000-square-foot anchor space in Stamford, Connecticut, previously occupied by Saks Off 5th, into one of the most extensive indoor pickleball areas in the U.S. The outdoor mall The Meadows at Lake Saint Louis also intends to repurpose the former Bed Bath & Beyond space into a pickleball club.
Chesterfield Mall in Chesterfield, MO has been given a new lease of life with the introduction of pickleball courts.
Furthermore, Shore Mall in New Jersey has recently converted a former Burlington store space into a dedicated pickleball facility, and an Old Navy space in a New Hampshire mall has been taken over by a pickleball club.
Looking ahead, the introduction of Camp Pickle is set to bring a unique twist to the pickleball experience. This new chain plans to combine the sport with food and drink options, recreating a nostalgic 1940s-era camp culture setting. The first Camp Pickle is scheduled to open next year in Huntsville, Alabama, with plans for expansion to Atlanta, Dallas, and Minneapolis.
We have featured a number of articles dealing with the expansion of pickleball across the U.S. Please click here to read more.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?