Pickleball players are really, really into the new sport. If you don’t believe it, just ask one. That’s led to pent-up demand for more places to play, which could make today’s news welcome: A whole mall of pickeball courts is slated to land in Dallas soon.
Picklemall, a modular indoor pickleball concept, is debuting its first U.S. location in Tempe, Arizona, in July—and it plans to pop up in Dallas and several other cities across the U.S. “in the coming months.”
The company’s rapid expansion plans are targeting 50 nationwide locations in the next 24 months. Other cities slated for Picklemalls in the coming months include Austin, San Antonio, Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Madison, and Bentonville, Arkansas.
Led by Dallas CEO, backed by Major League Pickleball founder Steve Kuhn
Picklemall is led by Dallas-based CEO West Shaw and backed by billionaire Austin financier Steve Kuhn, who founded Major League Pickleball in 2021.
“Pickleball is truly the Benjamin Button of sports,” Kuhn said in a statement. “Every year, the demographics for the sport get younger and younger. Pickleball has the opportunity to cross the barriers that divide us—age, race, class—to foster togetherness and spread joy to the communities in which Picklemall will reside. That starts with getting creative about location, and the future of pickleball is indoors.”
Real-time gameplay video that players can watch
Picklemall says it will “be driven by technology to improve efficiency of the player experience.” The company will launch an app on Android and iOS in the coming months to make scheduling a pickleball game, recording your performance, and enhancing your skills “as easy as possible.”
Players will use the Picklemall app to reserve their court, set a playtime, and “unlock the door to the Picklemall experience,” the company says. Gameplay will be recorded by a camera inside the court, giving players the ability to watch, analyze, and learn from their game footage “in real time.”
Reusing existing indoor malls and strip malls
To find its locations, Picklemall is strictly focusing on the reuse of vacant indoor mall and strip mall properties, the company said. By keeping its business indoors, Picklemall aims to provide “convenience, climate control, and consistent competition” for both amateur and professional pickleballers, year-round.
The company said its facilities will be open to leagues, clinics, open play, tournaments, and drop-in games. A Picklemall Pro Shop will be available inside each Picklemall, featuring Picklemall-branded merchandise and professional pickleball equipment from facility partner JOOLA USA. Equipment will also be available for rent at the facililities.
America’s fastest-growing sport is getting younger
According to the Association of Pickleball Professionals, Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., notching 35% growth from August 2022 to March 2023. That’s led to a long wait times for a limited number of courts, Picklemall says. The sport’s getting younger too, which could also increase demand moving forward. Formerly associated with retirement communities and the 55-plus demo, today 72% of avid pickleball players are between the ages of 18 and 44, Picklemall says.
Two Dallas billionaires are into the game, too
In November, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was named the first team owner of the PPA’s six-team VIBE Pickleball League, slated to launch in 2023. “I couldn’t pass up the chance to invest in the fastest-growing game in the country,” Cuban said at the time.
Soon after, Kuhn’s Major League Pickleball and the PPA’s VIBE Pickleball League announced a strategic merger to unify the sport under the Major League Pickleball brand.
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