As we’ve mentioned a couple of times recently, the U.S. Nationals at Brookhaven Country Club also featured The 2023 Pickleball Business Forum. It took place on Tuesday, coinciding with the USA Pickleball National Championships.
The focus was primarily on the future outlook of America’s fastest-growing sport from a business, marketing, and financial standpoint.
The event encompassed five panels featuring notable figures from the media, marketing, and even a couple of celebrities.
Panelists offered attendees an insider’s perspective on various facets of pickleball, ranging from the technical aspects of paddle design to an in-depth exploration of the evolving media landscape in content creation.
Anne Worcester, a strategic advisor with Major League Pickleball, remarked, “Pickleball is sort of everything that the consumer wants and needs.
“It’s social; it’s for all ages, all genders, all income levels, all athletic abilities. It’s so egalitarian.”
Ken Solomon, CEO of The Tennis Channel, added, “It’s explosive in its ability to attract people. Get anyone out there on the court, and they want to play.”
Exciting plans are in motion for the integration of pickleball and technology. The Tennis Channel has launched PickleballTV, which will provide round-the-clock coverage of pickleball throughout the year, aiming to expand the sport’s popularity to an increasingly international audience.
Professional players like Ben Johns are collaborating with paddle companies to innovate the pickleball paddle through experimentation with different materials, shapes, and designs.
Johns stated, “We’re at a fairly basic level of technology right now. We’re going to see advancement in every aspect of pickleball with the paddle and balls.”
Sense Of Community
Behind the scenes of the business operations, the sport evidently mirrors the sense of community and camaraderie that amateur players experience on the court.
Zubin Mehta, co-founder of Good Alpha and owner of Maddrops Pickleball Club, noted, “More so than any other sport or community of business I’ve been involved with, this is the most inclusive community.
“There’s always opportunities, and there’s also an endless stream of growth coming. It’s a place that doesn’t feel like work because the people who are in it really love it.”
The Upcoming Generation Of Players
A recurring theme across the panels was a celebration of the upcoming generation of players.
Tyson Apostle, a four-time Survivor contestant turned pickleball influencer, shared, “In my area, there are kids who are doing their schoolwork at the pickleball courts because they want to grow up and become pickleball pros.
Those kids and teenagers out on the courts are going to be the next great pickleball players.”
Renowned broadcaster Dave Fleming added, “Right now, there are athletes coming over from tennis and other backgrounds, but in a few years, the pro athletes in pickleball will only be from pickleball.”
Kaitlyn Kerr, known as @pickleball.chick on Instagram, remarked, “The sport is getting younger.”
The remarkable upward trajectory of pickleball is undeniable – and this is just the beginning.
Jason Aspes, co-founder of The Kitchen, reassured, “If anyone feels like they’re late to the game, you’re not. It’s going to boom, and we haven’t even scratched the surface on this.”
Brookhaven even formally altered its name to include “Racket Club” to raise the profile of its pickleball courts.
If there’s one key takeaway, it’s that the future of pickleball looks exceedingly promising.
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