Jun 8, 2023 - Sports

Number of pickleball courts in San Francisco fall short of demand

Number of pickleball courts in U.S. cities
Data: Trust for Public Land; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

San Francisco is actively working to meet the growing demand for pickleball, but a new analysis suggests the city is falling short.

Driving the news: San Francisco has 6.9 pickleball courts for every 100,000 people, but some of them are also used for tennis, according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a pro-parks nonprofit.

The big picture: There's been a sixfold increase in the number of public pickleball courts in the 100 biggest U.S. cities since 2017 — from 420 to 2,788 — but municipal leaders say they still can't come close to meeting demand from pickleheads.

  • There's now about one pickleball court for every 24,000 residents in these cities.

Why it matters: Cities are in a love/hate relationship with pickleball.

  • America's fastest-growing sport is a boon for players who are aging out of tennis — and others who dig its vibe — but it's noisy and draws nonstop complaints from tennis players who've been kicked off their turf.

The intrigue: No cities in California made the top 20. The closest was Riverside at No. 29.

What they're saying: "The cities that have really good park systems tend to be the ones that have a lot of pickleball courts," says Will Klein, associate director of parks research at TPL.

By the numbers: Carl Schmits of USA Pickleball, the sport's governing body, tells Axios there's a critical shortage of pickleball courts given the numbers — 23 million tennis players and 9 million pickleball players in the United States.

  • He says that for every 100 tennis courts, there should be 37 pickleball courts.
  • Instead, there are about 250,000 tennis courts and 44,000 pickleball courts of record in USA Pickleball's 11,000-site database — or about 17.6 pickleball courts per 100 tennis courts.

What to watch: San Francisco's parks department plans to begin construction of new pickleball courts at Larsen Playground near Stern Grove this summer.

  • Meanwhile, the parks department says it will work to identify underutilized public areas that could be used for future dedicated pickleball facilities.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Francisco.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More San Francisco stories

No stories could be found

San Franciscopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Francisco.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more