Phoenix solidifies itself as mecca for pickleball lovers
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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