Jun 8, 2023 - Sports

Seattle's No. 1 in pickleball courts

Data: Trust for Public Land; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

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.

Driving the news: With pickleball becoming a way of life, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a pro-parks nonprofit, ranked U.S. cities by pickleball courts per capita.

  • A number of local park systems, including those in Seattle, Auburn and Bellevue, offer pickleball classes for novices who'd like to get in on the fun.

Why it matters: America's fastest-growing sport is a boon for players who are aging out of tennis — and others who dig its vibe — but it draws complaints from tennis players who've been kicked off their turf, Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson and Alice Feng report.

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. Seattle ranked eighth among TPL's list of the nation's best city park systems.

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 9 million pickleball players in the United States.

What's next: Padel, a racket sport from Mexico with a different court configuration from tennis and pickleball, is now on the rise in the United States.

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