New York (CNN) Pickleball is coming to your local mall, replacing Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy, and Saks Off 5th Stores.
It may sound like an odd strategy, but the match offers benefits to both mall owners and Pickleball players.
Shopping malls need new tenants to fill the vacant spaces and attract customers beyond the traditional boutiques and clothing stores.
Consumers crave fun and social experiences after years of limited gatherings during the pandemic, and have shifted their spending from commodities to experiences like theatres, arcades and theme parks.
Malls are responding to these trends by turning to a Wider range of tenants Real estate investment company JLL said in a a report this week.
The new mix in malls also includes skydiving, virtual golf and breweries.
Meanwhile, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. Game backers and developers are desperate to find free space to build stadiums.
Pickleball, which combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, started in 1965. But it skyrocketed during the pandemic.
The number of people who play pickleball grew 159% over three years to 8.9 million in 2022, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, a trade group.
Courts have been opened in entertainment centers, hotels and retirement complexes.
However, the rapid spread of pickleball has created dilemmas for state parks and recreation departments, which must balance competing interests with often limited space and funds. Retirement communities and country clubs also face challenges in building a space for people who enjoy the game without antagonizing others.
Some tennis players and neighbors get annoyed at me Pop-pop noise from the pickle And they stopped developing the courts.
So pickleball is headed to the mall, where players can play and then eat or do some shopping, the owners hope.
A group called Pickleball America is taking over an 80,000-square-foot anchor space in Stamford, Connecticut, in Two-story former retail store Saks Off Fifth this summer. It is set to become one of the largest indoor pickleball stadiums in the United States.
promoter in Lake St. Louisan outdoor mall, plans to fill the space once occupied by Bed Bath & Beyond with a pickleball club.
A Pickleball facility recently opened in former store space in Burlington’s Shore Mall, NJ, and the Pickleball Club has taken over Old Navy space in a New Hampshire mall.
And the first Pickled campA new chain that pairs food and drink options with a 1940s-era cultural camp is set to open next year in Huntsville, Alabama. It will also expand to Atlanta, Dallas and Minneapolis.
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