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The Picklr Raises Its Valuation: Pickleball Investment Boom

The Picklr Raises Its Valuation: Pickleball’s growth is paralleled by increasing business activity and investment in the sport. Investment in America’s fastest-growing sport, pickleball, is rapidly increasing in 2024, with significant developments in the industry.

The Picklr, a Utah-based indoor pickleball franchise, recently concluded its Series B funding round with former NFL star Drew Brees among its notable investors. The franchise, which owns and develops 30 locations across the Midwest and boasts Brees as both an owner and brand ambassador, achieved a valuation of $59 million following this round, having raised a total of $9 million.

Over the past year, The Picklr has sold more than 300 franchises, with contracts signed for 98 locations. It anticipates expanding its footprint to 32 states by early next year, aiming to become the largest global provider of indoor pickleball clubs.

Under the leadership of Pickleball Inc., which oversees entities like the Carvana Professional Pickleball Association (PPA Tour), Pickleball Central, and PickleballTV, The Picklr plans to offer over 1,080 pro-style indoor courts by the end of 2025.”

Jorge Barragan, CEO and co-founder of The Picklr, highlighted the explosive popularity of pickleball, noting that the company is guided by robust corporate leadership and fueled by a dedicated team of franchise owners. Looking ahead, The Picklr aims to expand its footprint, increasing court availability and fostering a cohesive global community among pickleball enthusiasts worldwide.

“It’s no secret that the game of pickleball has exploded in popularity, Guided by strong corporate leadership and inspired by our enthusiastic team of franchise owners, The Picklr heads into this next chapter with an eye on bringing even more courts and a strong, like-minded community to pickleball players worldwide.” -(Jorge Barragan )

High Demand for Courts

The Picklr experiences robust demand for indoor pickleball facilities, with new clubs averaging 500-600 founder memberships, reports Jonathan Fornaci, President and CeO of Picklr. The franchise brand will receive extensive promotion through the PPA Tour, including live broadcasts and commercials. Additionally, Pickleball Central, a leading pickleball retailer, will offer demos and exclusive equipment releases at all Picklr locations. Stack Athletics, specializing in pickleball-specific performance apparel and a sister company of Picklr, will also feature prominently in the franchise’s offerings.

Recently, The Picklr announced finalizing master franchise agreements for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union, marking a significant step in its global expansion strategy.

Investors and Franchisees Embrace Pickleball

Pickleball’s popularity surge—over 48 million adult Americans played the sport in the past year—has attracted significant investor interest, despite infrastructure challenges.

Recently, CityPickle secured a minority investment from The Avenue Sports Fund to expand permanent indoor facilities, starting in New York City and other metro areas. Pickleball’s appeal extends to franchising, with Pickleball Kingdom expanding rapidly, boasting 140 clubs under construction nationwide. Ace Pickleball Club plans to open seven franchised clubs this year, with more on the horizon, offering unique features like glow-in-the-dark technology.

Dill Dinkers, launched by Will and Denise Richards, is expanding with over 200 locations in development across the U.S., tapping into the sport’s inclusive and low-impact appeal.

Bahram Akradi, CEO of Life Time, has also invested significantly in pickleball, including a notable seven-court complex in New York City, reflecting the sport’s growing prominence in luxury athletic settings. Akradi’s dedication to pickleball, both in passion and investment, has yielded significant results. In 2023, Life Time reported a 51% increase in pickleball players on its courts.

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News in Brief: The Picklr Raises Its Valuation

Pickleball is experiencing a dramatic rise in popularity and investment in 2024. The Picklr, led by CEO Jorge Barragan and backed by Drew Brees, has secured substantial funding and aims to expand its indoor pickleball clubs across the U.S. and globally. With over 300 franchises sold and plans for significant expansion, The Picklr is at the forefront of the sport’s commercial growth. Meanwhile, other entities like CityPickle and Ace Pickleball Club are also expanding, driven by increasing demand and investor interest in pickleball’s inclusive appeal and growing player base.

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