Why have Humana and Eggland’s Best invested in Pickleball?

Everyone knows the truth about Pickleball.  It’s the #1 recreational sport in America with well over 35 million casual players engaging in it for various reasons from competition to social fitness.  The demographics continue to be astounding. 18-65+, with a majority of players between 35-55 years old, with household incomes that are typically well above the national average.  These are consumers not just participants.  They see pickleball as a lifestyle statement not just as an exercise.  The social nature of the pickleball communities at this stage has grown in stature to the level/recognizability and respect of the infamous “soccer moms”.
Having said all of this, there are thousands of brands that see the sport as a conduit to their customers but either from a lack of budget or fear of inexperience stand point, pickleball has not yet made it into their 2024/25 budgets and plan-0-grams.  My goal in this blog is to show brands of all sizes, statures and positionings that pickleball is a BIG tent idea and there are many ways you can leverage the sport.  My clients, Pickleball Pop-Ups focus on creating 5 levels of engagement:
  • Self directed, brand owned tours to focus only on their marketing and sales initiatives.  No other brand inclusion.  This could be for one or more cities.
  • Sponsorship: A brand/company can be one of several premiere sponsors in multiple cities.
  • Corporate events:  Pickleball Pop-Ups will custom build an event for your employees, C level execs, clients, etc. at your direction and in your vision.  This is usually a one off event.
  • Trade show promotion:  So we have executed pickleball events for events and also created pickleball for vendors trying to differentiate at an event whether its CES, Expo West, Licensing Show, Housewares Show, Magic, whatever the event maybe.  We are receiving a large number of requests from trade shows like Home and Garden shows that want an area for their attendees to just hange out yet stay active and ultimately keep them at the show.
  • Indoor activations:  Malls, larges commercial real estate companies, etc.   We have the capacity to fill unused commercial real estate space in ANY city in America.
Now the competitive organizations that do an AMAZING job such as PPA and APP have their focus and activations, and both Humana and Eggland’s Best are associated with one of these two organizations to their credit.  We are asked every day by brands big and small, why pickleball?
The answer is both simple and complex.
The simple answer is, pickle players at every level are your customers.  They have significant disposable income and they are brand loyal.  The brand loyalty is always assigned to the NASCAR’s of the world which is true, but I bet you if you are a PPA member you know Humana has a major holding with the association. That goes to prove the theory to the case of why Pickleball.  Without getting into deal details, the major benefits of sponsoring pickleball regardless of the Association or company is:
  • In-person connection with customers or individuals whom you’d like to convert to customers.
  • The cost of acquisition is very low compared to let’s say influencer marketing, paid ads or SEO.
  • Sampling, product give-aways
  • Branding associated with a very positive experience with friends and/or family.
  • Couponing on site.
  • Support local retail partners.
  • Media visibility in local markets.
  • Content, Content, Content!
These are just top-line examples, but they are valid and speak to the huge number of brands that are engaging us in conversations about how can they sponsor Pickleball Pop-Ups.   Both Humana and Eggland’s Best have vastly different programs and priorities, however both clearly see enough of a competitive advantage to invest significant amounts of their marketing and sales budgets to become sponsors and then the cost of activation.  Pickleball can be a moderately priced sports marketing sponsorship or it can be the jewel in your crown for the year that you are utilizing as the delivery system for:
  • Sales
  • Brand identification
  • New product launches
  • Highlight sales partners such as retailers or D2C partners.
And so much more.
If your brand is interested in exploring how does pickleball fit into your 3rd/4th Qtr 2024 plans and beyond, lets set up a call to review strategies, opportunities and goals.  Contact me at:   or on Linkedin at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/evanmorgenstein