One in 10 Americans have played pickleball

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
October 06, 2022, 6:50 PM GMT+0

Pickleball? One in 10 Americans claim they've tried the booming sport, according to recent Economist/YouGov polling. Pickleball, sometimes described as a less strenuous cousin of tennis, is played on a smaller court with an underhand serve and rules that slow the speed of volleys. According to our latest polling, people who have played pickleball tend to be younger: one in five 18- to 29-year-olds (20%) say they have played the game, compared with just 4% of Americans 65 and older.

One in four Americans (27%) have heard about Los Angeles Laker LeBron James (and other investors, including some NBA players) buying a Major League Pickleball team. Opinion of James, though overall favorable, is split based on party. Two in three Democrats (67%) view James favorably compared to 29% of Republicans.

There is at least one athlete whose current popularity crosses party lines: New York Yankee Aaron Judge — who set a new American League single-season home run record by hitting his 62nd home run just as this poll concluded fielding — is liked by both Republicans and Democrats who know of him. Judge is also leading the American League in runs batted in and is challenging for the highest batting average, a feat last accomplished in 2012 by Miguel Cabrera. Judge’s home run total is exceeded only by several players whose National League home run records are now viewed as products of an era when the use of performance-enhancing drugs was more common.

– Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on October 1 - 4, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.

Image: Adobe Stock (Ron Alvey)