Brooklyn, hotbed of pickleball, now ‘exports’ the game
Industry group: It’s America's 'fastest-growing sport'
Not only is Brooklyn the home of pickleball, but Brooklynites are now exporting the sport elsewhere.
The sport, which has been described as a mixture of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, gained traction here earlier this year when Brooklyn Bridge Park added three pickleball courts at Pier 2. They replaced underutilized bocce courts.
Don’t think it’s just a Brooklyn Heights phenomenon, either. There are also pickleball courts at Leif Ericson Park in Bay Ridge, McCarren Park in Greenpoint, Winthrop Playground in Crown Heights and elsewhere.
Pickleball enthusiasts who play at Leif Ericson Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and elsewhere in the borough have posted exciting matches online.
Now, according to the Long Island Business Journal, Big River LLC, which the publication describes as a “Brooklyn-based sports development group,” has purchased a 20,000-square-foot building in Sayville, Long Island, to create a pickleball recreation complex.
The building was formerly used for indoor soccer and lacrosse, pointing to the fact that pickleball has overtaken some other sports in popularity. The group says it plans to have the new pickleball center open by September, according to the publication.
In 2021, the Sport and Fitness Industry Association declared pickleball “the fastest growing sport in America.” The organization also estimated that 4.2 million people played pickleball in 2020, up 21 percent from the year before.
Pickleball can be played either indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a modified tennis net. Players hold a ping-pong-type paddle that has a longer handle and hit a plastic ball with holes.
“We are excited to bring this sport to Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Eric Landau, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park, when the above-mentioned pickleball courts opened there. “It is great exercise, enjoyed by all age groups, and keeps getting more and more popular.”
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