Pickleball business booms during COVID-19 pandemic
USA Pickleball partnered with big companies last year
EDMONDS, Wash. - What started as a hobby turned into a career change for Devin Schmidt.
"It’s taken over my life," Schmidt said.
Schmidt is a property manager in real estate. Two weeks from now, he’ll make the transition to full-time pickleball coach.
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"I can basically teach to people I want to all day, and people love it," Schmidt said.
Schmidt started coaching three and a half years ago. So, why is now the right time for the change?
"The growth has been crazy. The demand."
The business side of pickleball is booming. The 2021 National Championship streamed with major broadcasting companies. Viewers didn’t have to dig online to watch the biggest tournament.
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"It does give us exposure to people who are not necessarily already pickleball players or pickleball fans," said USA Pickleball CEO Stu Upson.
There’s a lot more money in the sport. USA Pickleball partnered with big companies last year.
"A lot of our deals are now multi-year deals," Upson said. "They include television exposure, exposure at the tournaments."
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The prize money keeps increasing. The 2013 National Champion won $10,000. Last year’s prize was $90,000. Players are getting sponsored by bigger companies. Schmidt wants to coach professionals after his move. He told FOX Business those sponsorships should only get better.
"It’s just a matter of time until big names such as Adidas and Nike and places like that are going to see real sponsorship opportunities," Schmidt said.