Aug 10, 2022 - Things to Do

Phoenix solidifies itself as mecca for pickleball lovers

Four athletes posing for camera.
Pickleball athletes Ben Johns, Tyler Loong, Collin Johns and AJ Koller competed in Scottsdale last night.

Some of the best pickleball players in the country met for a showcase in Scottsdale Tuesday night, further solidifying metro Phoenix as a mecca for pickleball lovers.

For the uninitiated: Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

  • Its popularity was once reserved to retirement communities, but the sport has seen a 650% increase in players over the past seven years.
  • There are two U.S. professional tours and two international governing bodies.
  • Supposedly, even Larry Fitzgerald and Leonardo DiCaprio are playing.

What's happening: The first of five Tuesday Night Pickleball matches was held Tuesday night at The Orchard, a fancy new indoor pickleball court at the Scottsdale campus of Jigsaw Health.

  • The matches are broadcast live on YouTube and VIP tickets are available starting at $100.
  • Fans vote on the player matchups they want to see.

Why it matters: Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the world, and there are significant revenue opportunities as the growth continues.

  • Metro Phoenix already has many courts and indoor facilities thanks to the retiree community's early adoption of the sport.

What they're saying: "This is a passion project for us and our organization Tuesday Night Pickleball is a great way to introduce more people to the sport we love — both in person and online," Jigsaw Health owner Patrick Sullivan said.

What's next: The next matches are Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Nov. 22 and Dec. 13.

  • Tickets are not yet available for the future games.

🗯 My thought bubble: I started my journalism career in 2015 covering the city of Surprise, home to many large retirement communities that are extremely passionate about pickleball.

  • It's been fun to see the sport evolve into something all age groups enjoy.
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