retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There's a new sport out there that is taking America by storm - pickleball.

Axios has a story about how, "at a time when safe, outdoor recreation options are a premium, pickleball - which has become a craze among seniors in particular - is going increasingly mainstream … A cross between tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong, pickleball is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes on what looks like a miniature tennis court.

"USA Pickleball, the sport's national governing body, says it has 40,000 members who play in all 50 states."

The story goes on:  "While the Sunbelt states are the biggest pickleball hotbeds, demand for public courts is exploding everywhere … every park update and new 55+ community has a pickleball team/designated space.

"In San Luis Obispo, California — where there's typically a 20-minute wait for a court — the city is spending $120,000 to build its first permanent pickleball courts … New England's first dedicated indoor pickleball complex is about to open in Hanover, Mass. (just south of Boston) with six tournament-sized courts."

The only downside of pickleball seems to be that it can be noisy:  "The thwack of a wiffleball against a paddle is resonant, and condo and homeowner associations are being flooded with pickleball-related noise complaints."

Stu Upson, CEO of USA Pickleball, tells Axios that the group is "doing some research on sound barriers, and looking at equipment" that's less loud."

KC's View:

I thought this was worth noting because how often does a sport come out of nowhere to capture the public's imagination?  I have to admit that I'd never heard of pickleball until a friend told me about it - Stu Upson, who I've known for almost 40 years, told me that he's just become the CEO of USA Pickleball.  "What the hell is that?" I said.

Now I know.  This week, Axios.  Last week, The Economist.

Guess I'm going to have to learn to play this game.