Best Cities for Pickleball

Date IconLast Updated: May 22nd, 2023
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Best Cities for Pickleball

For the past three years, pickleball has been dubbed the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., with a 158.6% growth rate.

Across the nation, more than 36.5 million people played pickleball from August 2021 to August 2022, CNBC reported. There are more than 10,320 pickleball courts nationwide, with new courts constantly popping up.

Pickleball ranks only behind biking and running in participation rates. It ranks ahead of basketball, golf, tennis, baseball, soccer and football, according to the Pickleheads website.

Soon, pickleball could be available on online sports betting sites.

Growth Rate Explained

One reason for the growth rate is the simplicity and excitement of the game and the ease of learning how to play. 

Several participation sports, including golf and tennis, can take months for a dedicated player to learn. Pickleball players can become proficient sometimes in minutes or days and don’t need to be highly skilled — though top players are.

The origin of the name pickleball underscores its appeal to all skill levels. 

The game was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, among friends. Its name was inspired by college crew sports, where the leftover nonstarters compete in pickle boats just for fun. (On its website, USA Pickleball disputes a theory that the term’s origin is based on a dog named Pickles.)

Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong, played on a smaller court than tennis, with a lower net. It can be played on outdoor or indoor pickleball courts, though most courts are outdoors.

Unlike some sports (golf being one), pickleball equipment isn't difficult to control. Pickleball paddles are a little larger than those used for Ping-Pong and are easy to hold and manage. The ball is similar to a Whiffle ball in that it is plastic, hollow and has holes.



With pickleball’s explosive growth in the U.S., examined four factors to determine which cities are, right now, the best for pickleball. 

  • Average rainfall: Yearly annual rainfall from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Number of courts: information from city government parks and recreation websites and local newspaper stories to compute the number of courts.
  • Participation base: The population of each city factors into how many participants Pickleball could have there. We used figures compiled using U.S. Census Bureau data.
  • Sports Bars: Because pickleball appeals to casual players and sports enthusiasts who might like to hang out afterward, looked at the number of sports bars, using the popular sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings, in each metropolitan area.
  • All four data points were measured out of 100 using the PERCENTRANK formula, and an average was found to create a ‘Final/ Best Cities for Pickleball Score.’ Cities were ranked from highest to lowest final score.
    • All data was collected and corrected on May 10, 2023.


What state is most popular for pickleball?

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