Pickleball Still on the Rise

A new participation report from the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) shows that America’s fastest-growing sport has enjoyed even higher growth than previously thought, with 14% of adult Americans (36.5 million people) playing pickleball at least once in the 12-month period between August 2021 and August 2022, with 8.5 million people playing pickleball eight times or more in the same period. This rapid rise looks set to continue, with 45% of the 36.5 million total payers saying they plan to play pickleball more often in the next six months than in the previous six-month period.

The 2023 APP Pickleball Participation Report was compiled by YouGov, an international market research and data analytics firm, with the research team polling a sample group of nearly 2,500 nationally representative adults ages 18 and older from across America.

“The first of what will be our annual APP Pickleball Participation Report clearly shows that pickleball is not only America’s fastest-growing sport, it is growing much faster than anyone really thought. Now, pickleball has to be viewed as one of America’s favorite sports,” said Tom Webb, chief marketing officer of the APP. “In 2020, a pandemic year, previous reports stated that over 4 million people picked up a paddle to play pickleball, with that number reportedly growing to over 5 million in 2021. Those numbers appear to have been conservative, but what the APP’s report shows is that the popularity of pickleball has exploded. Pickleball courts continue to be built and installed nationwide, and people from coast to coast are trying the sport for the first time, and immediately falling in love with pickleball. The APP is honored to represent the millions of people coming into the sport at all levels—from elite-level, professional athletes at the top of the game, players who are rightly gaining in status and awareness as the incredible athletes they are, to the amateur players who are playing such an important role in the growth of the APP and the sport overall, right through to the millions of recreational players who find so much enjoyment from a sport they can pick up easily, which costs very little to play, and which rewards its participants from the first time they play.”

“I fell in love with pickleball the very first time I played, and now I have the honor of being able to compete across America, and internationally, in a sport that is so quickly becoming part of our culture,” added Megan Fudge DeHeart, professional pickleball player. “As the sport grows, so does the recognition of what it takes to be a pro, and that’s hugely rewarding. The number of fans at our events increases with almost every competition, and now we know just how big the sport is, that will only continue to increase. I’m excited for the future of our sport—for the players today, for those who will continue to flock to pickleball, and for my children who also love the sport, and have a lifetime of playing pickleball ahead of them.”