Picklemall: Coming soon to an out-of-operation shopping mall near you

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Picklemall photo

Pickleball enthusiast, billionaire financier and Major League Pickleball founder Steve Kuhn says he’s planning to build a Picklemall in Dallas.

Kuhn and Picklemall CEO West Shaw say in a press release that they are ready to debut the first Picklemall, a massive indoor pickleball center, in Arizona. They say that’s the first of a dozen such venues they will open across America. They will open about 50 in the next two years, including one in Dallas.

The announcement comes just weeks after Arizona-based Pickleball Kingdom also announced its expansion into the Dallas market.

There’s no information yet on where in Dallas our Picklemall will go (same goes for Pickleball Kingdom). However a press release indicates that Picklemall will “strictly focus on the reuse of existing indoor mall and strip mall properties, bringing new life into vacant spaces.”

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., experiencing 35% growth from August 2022 to March 2023, according to the Association of Pickleball Professionals.

“With demand outpacing current pickleball infrastructure growth, pickleball-obsessed players are consistently displaced and experience long wait times for a limited number of courts,” according to the Picklemall press release.

The Advocate reported in fall 2022 an estimated increase of 40% to 4.8 million players of the sport last year, per a 2022 report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

Interviews with about 15 people in Dallas who play pickleball daily turned up no one who played before 2017; most took it up in 2019 or later. Indeed, we reported at the time, Pickleball is taking over rec centers and tennis courts all over town due to high demand.

And that growth shows no sign of dwindling.

Once popular at retirement communities and with 55+ demographics, today 72% of avid pickleball players are between the ages of 18 and 44, Kuhn said.

“Pickleball is truly the Benjamin Button of sports,” he said. “Every year, the demographics for the sport get younger and younger. Pickleball has the opportunity to cross the barriers that divide us — age, race, class — to foster togetherness and spread joy to the communities in which Picklemall will reside. That starts with getting creative about location, and the future of pickleball is indoors.”

Picklemall will be driven by technology to improve efficiency of the player experience, the operators say. Available on Android and iOS in the coming months, Picklemall will launch an app to make scheduling a pickleball game, recording your performance and enhancing your skills as easy as possible.

Players will use the Picklemall app to reserve their court, set a playtime and unlock the door to the Picklemall experience. Inside the court, gameplay will be recorded by a camera, giving players the ability to watch, analyze and learn from their game footage in real time.

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