Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the world and I’m sure you’ve heard this claim many times. Considering that it’s been the fastest-growing sport for years at this point, how many people actually play pickleball in 2023?
There are millions of pickleball players worldwide, and a couple of organizations make it a point to find out the exact number of players every year. We’ll talk about all that here in this article!
How Many People Play Pickleball?
The latest study for the number of pickleball players was done by the Association of Pickleball Professionals or the APP. They estimated 36.5 million Americans played pickleball as of August 2022. To put this into perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 population estimates indicate that the country is home to approximately 333 million people.
That means that 1 out of every 10 Americans play pickleball. If you have a decent number of friends, you’ve probably heard or seen them play pickleball over the past year yourself! However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all of these 36 million players are enthusiasts that play pickleball every week. Some are casual players that play for fun just once in a while.
The Different Kinds of Pickleball Players
In fact, the latest study by the APP states that even though there are 36.5 million pickleball players, at least 3.7 million of these players only play pickleball once a year.
Here’s a breakdown of the statistic:
|Category||Number of Players||Definition|
|Regular players||25.5 million||Play pickleball at least once a week.|
|Casual players||7.3 million||Play pickleball less than once a week.|
|Once-a-year players||3.7 million||Play pickleball only once a year.|
So the “real” or frequent pickleball players that play at least once a week are actually estimated to be around 25.5 million.
How Accurate Is the Statistic for Finding the Number of Pickleball Players?
Statistics, especially estimates, are never completely accurate. However, there are dozens of ways to combat inaccuracy. For example, studies often allow for a 5 percent margin of error. This means that the final value of a study is only accurate within 5 percent of the value given.
Let’s apply this to the pickleball statistic we just shared. Since the total estimate is 36.5 million players, the 5 percent allowance means there are actually either 34.6 million players (5 percent less than 36.5 million) or 38.3 million players (5 percent more than 36.5 million). The real number could also be anywhere between 34.6 to 38.3 million.
The accuracy of the statistic always depends on the methodology of the research, how the numbers were taken, and the reputation of the organization that the study is coming from. This is why we’ll be talking about the history of the organizations that have been doing the population studies on pickleball and highlighting if they have made any mistakes in the past or if they are reputable and can be trusted.
How Is the Number of Pickleball Players Collected?
The methodology for figuring out the number of pickleball players in the world is as thorough as can be. Here’s how the APP collected their data:
- Survey — surveying a random sample of pickleball players in the United States as a stratified random sample
- Retailer Data — the APP collected data from pickleball retailers and shops to track the sale of pickleball equipment across America
- Tournament Data — collecting data from pickleball leagues and tournaments to track the number of participants that both played and watched the game
Association of Pickleball Professionals
The APP or Association of Pickleball Professionals is a non-profit organization. Founded in 2019 to “promote the growth and development of pickleball as a professional sport”.
Although the association is fairly new, it’s considered as a credible source of information for several reasons.
- They’re wildly recognized within the pickleball community, which is also known to review studies and information in that space.
- They’ve collaborated with partners like ESPN+, Tennis Channel Plus, and CBS Sports Network to bring pickleball to more people in America. This partnership requires some kind of authority and validity in your work, which the APP does.
- The APP has a strong foundation of employees and members. Which have been in the sport for several more years before the APP was founded.
All in all, they’re one of the leading organizations in the sport and are definitely reputable when it comes to information and studies.