Pickleball & Money?

Tennis Legend John McEnroe Takes on the Pickleball Challenge for a Whopping $1 Million! #YouCannotBeSeriousMan

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America and people nearing and in retirement are
running to the courts – so are some of the greatest tennis players of all time. On February 4th, 2024
four tennis legends are scheduled to compete in one epic slam at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in
Hollywood Florida.

It’s such an appropriate location considering that Florida is also the largest
retirement community in America! Retirement communities everywhere are spending more and
more time and the courts. Clearly, having the time to spend playing Pickleball is truly an important
part of a good retirement plan! But let’s talk pickleball for a moment…

Quick Summary

  • Looks like big money & Pickleball is making news!
  • Professional tennis legends John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and Michael Chang are set to battle it out in an exciting tournament at a top Florida casino, with a huge prize of $1 million up for grabs.
  • Pickleball mania is sweeping the country and reaching players of all ages.

The popularity of pickleball is undeniable. It is the fastest-growing sport in America, and it’s clear why. Courts everywhere are filled with people enthusiastically playing pickleball while many other athletic fields sit empty. It’s reminiscent of a time when everyone suddenly started taking disco dancing lessons and the music of hairy British-Australian brothers replaced the Beatles and Dylan on our turntable.

Celebrities Are Playing Too

Even celebrities have jumped on the pickleball bandwagon. Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, and various Kardashians are known to play. Billie Eilish’s Grammy-winning producer brother, Finneas, even installed a court at his new house. Jamie Foxx even has his own paddle called The Best Paddle. Many stars have become shareholders of professional pickleball teams, including Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Patrick Mahomes, Naomi Osaka, Eva Longoria, and Heidi Klum, to name just a few. It’s easier to list the celebrities who aren’t invested in pickleball!

This phenomenon feels exciting, and the celebrity involvement only adds to the buzz. It’s been suggested by many that the pickleball craze compares to recent obsessions like NFTs, with all the hype and excitement. If you mention “pickleball” in your pitch, you’re halfway to securing a unicorn investment.

Pickleball Beef Caused Shutdown in New York

There’s also the beef: The zesty skirmishes between pickleballers and tennis players, who are fighting for court time, and between pickleballers and pickleball-adjacent neighbors, the latter frazzled by a game that sounds like Wiffle balls mating. Picklebans are beginning to take hold. A downtown New York City park banished the sport after too many run-ins between picklers and parents. The Journal covered the tempestuous debates inside homeowner associations. “The bottom line is, you can’t believe the noise,” said one former association President.

Indeed, some have tried to argue against pickleball on its aesthetic merits, or its lack thereof; the sport, invented nearly 60 years ago in Washington’s Bainbridge Island as a summertime boredom-buster, will never be known for the sort of elegance found at Centre Court. It genuinely sounds ghastly. (A noiseless pickleball will rank up with the wheel and the lightbulb as one of humanity’s great inventions.) There’s no movement in pickleball that’s as pretty as a balletic Roger Federer backhand, but that could be an asset. Pickleball thrives because it’s casual, devoid of stuffiness or even athletic prerequisites. It isn’t trying to be tennis. It’s trying to be fun.

Pickleball On The Way To Top 5 Ranked U.S. Sports

Fun to play is a different thing from being a fun television product, however. Major League Pickleball founder Steve Kuhn recently said he expects the sport to “easily” rank in the top five U.S. sports in viewership numbers in the next five years, challenging baseball, the NHL and Major League Soccer. This, of course, is the type of thing the founder of a pickleball league should say, but I find it a tough watch. Pickleball feels destined to be one of those activities that’s more fun to do than watch other people do, like eating, and karaoke. (New York magazine declared itself out: PICKLEBALL LOOKS REALLY DUMB ON TV, read a recent headline.)

The future of pickleball is being played everywhere, and probably up the street from you, by friends, neighbors and perhaps yourself. It’s open to a hard-core athlete who wants to hit seven times a week and a barefoot vacationer who just gripped a racket for the first time—and may or may not have had three margaritas before joining the game. This sort of genuine, grass roots growth is almost impossible to achieve, and that’s what this strange, plastic sport has done. Pickleball, pickleball, pickleball. Sounds funny, but it can’t be stopped.

Pickleball world champion and renowned coach, Steve Kennedy says to all aspiring Pickleball players, “Practice with a purpose, it will pay dividends in the future!”.

And guess what – here is a little exclusive tip for IFW readers first!

Coming in October!

IFW audiences will have early exclusive access to THE MONEY PICKLE! IFW’s original video series featuring world champion player and coach Steve Kennedy with IFW CEO (CFP, ChFC, CLU) and retirement planning expert, Erik Sussman. Together they will help you…Win big in retirement & on the courts!


Erik Sussman and Pickleball World Champion & Coach, Steve Kennedy

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