Pickleball is the next big sport in the U.S. People all over are fascinated by it, and if you aren’t playing it, you have surely walked past people playing it and wondered what the hype is all about.
Pickleball is popular for many reasons, but one of the most important is how it is suitable for everyone. Grandma and the kids can play, and everyone in the age bracket in between.
You could even play if you had a physical limitation, as it does not have to be exerting!
But, what if you love it so much that you want to play professionally? (Yes, that is a thing!) Well, you can.
If you decided that professional pickleball is the career for you, what could you expect to make per year? Everyone knows that sports persons make a great paycheck, but do pro pickleballers fall into this category? Are they making good bucks too?
It is time to find out! Is this all-inclusive sport, just as good of a bread-winning career as other pro sports?
How Much Do Professional Pickleball Players Make?
While pickleball is still pretty young as a sport, it certainly has more than enough participation and excitement around it to allow there to be players earning a bit of income on a professional scale.
But, just how much money are we talking about?
Well, if you decide to play professional pickleball in the United States, you could be looking at an average income of $50,201 per year. Although, this does not include any money from sponsorships.
If you were to consider sponsorships into the average yearly wage of a professional pickleball player, you could be looking at $200,000 or thereabouts.
This does change depending on where you play, though.
There are several cities in which professional pickleball players can earn a large paycheck are often found in places such as California in San Francisco, San Jose, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara, Oakland, Santa Maria, Sunnyvale and so on.
The earnings of these players will usually be over the average of the U.S. This puts the highest group at an earning of $60,000 or over, with the lowest paid pickleball players earning around $55,000.
What We Know About Tournament Cash Prizes
In the pickleball U.S. Circuit there are around 153 tournaments held, and each tournament held will have different prize money. The prize money will depend on which association hosts the game.
It also depends on whether or not the game is a championship or not, also if it is a game for professional players, or amateur players as well.
For the games which are run by the PPA (Professional Pickleball Association), prize money can range very widely from $30,000 to a massive $150,000.
For the PPA, there is actually a grand total of $700,000 in earnings across the 16 tournaments they hold.
Yet, a few players will not receive so much once they have won.
An example of this would be at the USA National Pickleball Championships. In these tournaments players playing singles matches only receive around $2,500, even though the prize pool was at $80,000.
This was due to 2,000 players taking part in the tournament.
Getting A Coach
When you get into playing this sport, you need to hire a coach in order to play properly and become a pro eventually.
You can often get a coach who will teach a class of 10 to 30 people for $10 per hour when you start out.
However, once you start taking on one-to-one personal lessons, the pricing can vary depending on the level you are at and how much these private lessons are.
You can always learn pickleball without paying, you can watch online videos to get tips, try different strategies and expand on your knowledge of the game and skill when you play.
However, having a coach can be good, but having a coach can also alter just how much a player will earn as some of their earnings end up going to the coach as well as them.
Pickleball Player Sponsorships
We mentioned sponsorships earlier. As with many sports, a majority of the sports person’s income will come from sponsorships.
There have even been some players which report making up to $80,000 in sponsorships alone!
That being said, it does depend on who the sponsor is, and how much money they have to sponsor an athlete.
Let’s not forget that as well as prize pools which can already be large in some, sponsors can also contribute to the amount in a prize pool at a tournament to give players extra incentive to play at particular tournaments.
The leading manufacturer of paraphernalia for pickleball, known as Selkirk Sports, their incentive based contributions increased the size of the prize pool by a whopping 50% from 2018 to 2019.
This led to this particular tournament having a prize pool of $300,000!
What We Know About Pickleball Player Incomes In 2018
The winnings which players can gain from playing a game of pickleball does not always compare to other racket based sports such as tennis, however, it is still well worth it.
Data has even been released from a variety of major tournaments and results are warming. The pay is good, but there is also no gender based discrimination either.
In some cases, there is even variation of rewards depending on the type of event and the age bracket.
If you were to consider the US Open in Naples, you could see that doubles winners would earn more than those who played in singles, going from $4,500 to $2,250 per person in doubles to $1,750 for players in singles.
This is an interesting concept when you consider that in tennis this works the other way around.
Seniors would also earn less than younger players as well, by nearly double. However, at Indian Well, the prizes were the same regardless of the event or age.
Major League Pickleball Just Got Hardcore!
Then we need to consider the Major League Pickleball scene as well, as this league just recently announced during their live draft reveal that the prize in 2022 would go above and over $100,000 for the winning 4-player team in each of their 3 events.
This means that every player on the winning team walks away with $25,000 each, which makes this the biggest win in pickleball history so far!
This is clearly an aim for all pickleball players!
Pickleball does not have the excessive prize money you would find in Tennis, but it is still young and has a way to go yet.
However, pickleball can still bring some financial success to its winning players. And those who play in a pickleball tournament can enjoy winnings.
Be these winnings $1,000 or $25,000 per person, we say it is worth it to play professionally if you enjoy the game. We are sure the prizes will only grow as the sport does.