Relishing Pickleball: Is Pickleball a Good Bet?

David Zapatka

The Pickleball Players Association (PPA) and Genius Sports, a publicly-traded sports data and tech company, recently announced a “long-term” deal that sets the stage for sports betting in pickleball. Can you imagine walking into one of our local casinos, hearing raucous cheers, and seeing a pickleball match on the big screens in the sportsbook area? It’s coming.

Genius Sports is a five-year-old, publicly-traded company and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange as of April 2021 as Genius Sports (NYSE: GENI). They are big players and recently signed a gambling deal with the NFL, adding to their growing list of exclusivities with sports leagues like NASCAR, The English Premier League (soccer), and others.

This paves the way for millions of viewers to turn their attention and open their wallets to pickleball. Pickleball’s transition into a betting market will proliferate the sport across the globe and enhance the narrative that pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States and possibly across the world.

“This is a significant development for the global development of pickleball and our PPA Tour,” said PPA Commissioner Connor Pardoe. “With this agreement with Genius Sports, pickleball and our PPA Tour events will be viewed by more people than ever. This will only further fuel the massive global growth of pickleball, not only from a participation standpoint but, more importantly, as a spectator sport.”

When will this betting begin? It’s looking like it’s happening this month. Now that the deal is complete, the Genius Sports’ tech team has been working to create the math and develop the algorithms necessary to facilitate the betting processes.

One more thought—Genius Sports is a data-driven betting organization with a fancy technology foundation. Who cares about that? ESPN does, and so do hundreds of other major sports and organizations that look to Genius for their data.

If major sports organizations, ESPN, and other outlets have access to exclusive data as part of a larger agreement, why wouldn’t they take advantage of it? Does that sound like more doors opening for our sport to you? I’m betting it does, and the growth of pickleball will continue to march forward.

Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some pickilicious news you would like to share? Email David Zapatka at [email protected]