America’s Fastest-Growing Sport Is Coming To Your Gym

Life Time Fitness and other gyms are investing millions in pickleball to drive growth.
May 12, 2024
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trainers playing pickleball at Life Time Fitness

Gyms are betting on pickleball, America’s fastest-growing sport, to drive growth in net memberships.

Life Time Fitness is the latest health club to invest significantly in the sport. Last Saturday, they unveiled a new 54,000-square-foot club in Manhattan, which features seven pickleball courts.

Bahram Akradi, the CEO of Life Time Fitness, shared with CNBC that they’ve already invested between $50 million and $100 million in pickleball. The investment is showing strong early returns, accounting for 6-7% of Life Time Fitness’ membership dues (pickleball at Life Time Fitness is complimentary with a Signature Membership and $20/hour for all other membership types), and net memberships are up by more than 38,000 from this time last year.

Life Time Fitness has additional plans to maximize the commercial value of their pickleball investments:

  • By teaming up with pickleball pros to create educational videos 
  • By hosting nearly a dozen professional pickleball tournaments, with some expected to be broadcast on national television
  • By offering clinics, private lessons, and recreational leagues

Commercial gyms are certainly not the only ones betting on pickleball. Pickleball courts have been opening at malls, recreation centers, hotels, and retirement communities nationwide.

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