Rural areas: we all love them. Sure, there are some issues that come along with small towns, but nearly everyone can relate to and appreciate the simplicity in some way. Some describe the sport of pickleball as trending. Maybe in the bigger cities, this is the case. But, just like any other sport, it’s not trending until it can sweep the nation, not just a few major cities here and there. Here are the top 3 reasons pickleball will never thrive in rural areas, and ultimately as a whole.
Being from a town of about 225 people myself, I can attest that there is a certain culture barrier in rural areas. New things aren’t appreciated often, and almost never immediately. Die-hard football fans will never be willing to switch to a sport as “thrilling” as pickleball. There are just certain traditions in these areas, and I personally can never see pickleball being a tradition. On top of other issues such as expensive equipment or lack of access to courts, pickleball is missing the “it” factor that other sports have; there’s just no reason for you to be interested.
One thing that will always stick with rural areas is being social with friends. By looking at pickleball in a social way, there’s really no reason it can’t be incorporated into a cookout or bonfire just like cornhole. If you’re interested in trying it out, get started with a couple of paddles from FitVille for as low as $59 in the 1803 Marketplace.
2) Lack of Media Coverage
I can honestly say I have never seen pickleball on TV. Not that I’ve looked for it, but I don’t even see clips on ESPN. One of the worst things about rural areas is that they are often far away from sports stadiums. Even if they are a little close, driving to a major city is all but our favorite thing to do. Getting some friends together, getting a couple cases, and firing up the grill to watch the game might as well be church for many in rural areas. If you don’t even have the option to watch pickleball, the sport might as well not even exist to us.
Some people in rural areas do not rely on streaming services. However, they often rely on local channels. These channels often have plenty of airtime that is typically filled with sitcom re-runs. Using this airtime to promote pickleball could at least draw some attention just due to a change in the norm. This could lead to small fan bases forming all over the country and grow love for the sport.
3) No “Stars” in the Sport
Pickleball is usually associated with an older demographic due to its low-impact design while keeping older people active. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it automatically takes away one of the most fun parts of sports. There’s no Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, or even Lance Armstrong (Yikes!). There are simply pickleball players. If there is nobody to say is the “best”, or even someone to watch with some freak-ability to play the sport, where is the fun? Where is the motivation for you to learn to play like them?
Targeting an older demographic may be the key to this issue. Playing for exercise and enjoyment doesn’t require much skill or desire to make moves like you may see on TV. Highlighting gear to keep players safe and promotional commercials that show true enjoyment could do just as much for the sport than a star athlete. Check out apparel like FitVille Amadeus shoes in the 1803 Marketplace.
If pickleball is your jam, I’m sorry. More power to you. Get out and have fun however you desire. However, pickleball just is not the next big thing, and if some of the negatives don’t change, it never will be a national phenomenon. Changes would not be that hard to make, but the changes need to be made if any change is going to happen.To learn more about marketplace options for emerging and local golf brands, please contact the 1803 Golf founders at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us @1803golf on Facebook, Instagram, and TikToK.
Article by: Mason Fyffe