Pickleball is a sport that is growing in popularity all the time. So how much do pro pickleball players make? It may surprise you! In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the salaries of some of the top pickleball players in the world. We will cover the tournaments with the biggest payouts and discuss how the amount of money these players earn varies depending on their rank.
North America saw the biggest growth of new pickleball players these past few years. The Pro players most recognized in America are Ben Johns and Tyson McGuffin. While some amateur players can also reach celebrity status in this sport, it’s still a niche environment compared to other professional sports.
How Much Do Pro Pickleball Players Make?
At this time, it takes a lot of money to travel the country, pay for lodging, food, and other needs while on tour. Most tournament entry fees are around $100, and the top tournament prize money ranges from $1K-6K.
When you factor in everything needed to travel around the country, there is only a little margin for not playing well. The biggest professional pickleball players make money from sponsorship, personal brand, coaching sessions, or a lucrative endorsement deal. So what do pro pickleball players earn?
Since sponsorships and other income info aren’t widely available, I looked at a range from other professional athletes and calculated prize money from top tournaments.
Professional Pickleball Players Make
A professional pickleball career salary depends on how well they perform consistently.
Top-tier earners can make up to $200k yearly from the tour and gear sponsorship, while mid-tier and low-tier players may make $100k-$20k annually. However, being a pro pickleball player isn’t all about tournament prize money – they earn most of their income from teaching clinics, professional events, and getting lucrative sponsorship.
In addition, many sponsors have now instituted an incentive pool program. Professional players can earn extra money based on their performance in tournaments. Being a pro pickleball player can be lucrative if you consistently perform well and secure sponsorships or teaching opportunities.
But for most players, it’s also about having a true passion for the sport and enjoying the competitions and camaraderie on the pickleball court.
Pickleball Prize Money From the Tournament
So, how much can a pickleball player earn on the professional tour? The amount varies depending on which tour they are competing in. The Association of Pickleball Players(APP) and The Pro Pickleball Association(P.P.A.) are two major tournaments. Both tours started in 2019 and have gained popularity, although the P.P.A. tour has the top professional pickleball player Ben Johns, Tyson Mcguffin, and many more. They seem to pull ahead of the APP tour for sponsors and televised games.
Overall, there is potential for substantial earnings for top-rated pickleball professionals – but it takes dedication, skill, and luck to hit it big on the pro tour.
Let’s talk about each tour and how they differ.
Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP Tour)
The APP is a competitive pickleball tour for professionals and amateurs and has 20 stops currently planned in 2023, competing for over $2 million in prize money. The A.P.P. pays out per tournament, with top prizes from 1k-5k per tournament win. The APP tour went international this year with games in Spain, France, and England. It’s exciting to see the spot become internationally recognized. As we discussed in a previous post, it’s one of the steps needed to get pickleball into the Olympics and have players competing for gold medals. The APP tour is an excellent opportunity for amateur players to play in top-level competitions and potentially gain more recognition.
Pro Pickleball Association (PPA Tour)
The PPA. Tour has announced some exciting changes for 2022, including a new points system and pay-per-round payout. Each round of play will have a payout based on a round of 32 rather than just the tournament purse. If a player wins in the round 32 and round 16 matches but loses in the quarterfinals, they will still be paid.
This distribution allows for a more even distribution of earnings, incentivizing higher-seeded players to stay in the game rather than drop out after winning a certain amount. Additionally, the points system rewards players for consistent performance throughout the competition season, allowing those who play consistently well to earn more prize money at the major events.
The tour has landed some big sponsors this year, including Hyundai, Hertz, and Franklin Sports. For pickleball fans and professional players alike, these changes to the P.P.A. Tour are sure to up the excitement and make it even more worthwhile to play on the tour.
Here is how the points work from their website:
What About Pickleball Earnings Outside the Tour?
The phenomenal growth in sports has undoubtedly led to increased viewers, followers, and monetary rewards. But for players who have played at the top level recently or outside the USA, more than the money for the sport is needed. Coaching and promotion remain incredibly valuable, even in the top 20 players in the men’s and women’s divisions.
USA Pickleball National Championships
If you’re a fan of pickleball, then the USA Pickleball National Championships are for you. This tournament draws in some of the best players in the country to compete for gold medals and prize money. The prize pool for singles gold is $5,000 and doubles gold is $14,000 – a tempting prize for any professional player.
But even if you’re looking to watch some exciting matches and see top-notch pickleball play, the National Championships offer great entertainment. The event is a week-long packed with competitive play and fun activities for all.
US Open Pickleball Championships
The US Open Pickleball Championships bring in top players from all over the world for a chance to compete for some serious prize money. But it’s not just about the competition – it’s also a fantastic party.
Held in Naples, Florida, the pickleball capital of the world, the event offers intense matches, social gatherings, and special events. And it’s only getting bigger and better – since its inception in 2016, the prize pool has been steadily increasing.
How Do You Become A Professional Pickleball Player?
As I think of pickleball’s massive popularity over the last few years, it reminds me how much the sport still has to grow. Currently, an estimated 4.8 million pickleball players are in the United States. In comparison, tennis has around 17.5 million loyal fans in the US and 86 million worldwide.
So how do you become a pro player? Well, “pro” is a very loose term in pickleball; if you play and pay for entry in sanctioned tournaments, you could be considered a pro! It’s only been a few years since the two leading professional tours, the PPA and APP, began in 2019. As such, the development of these tours is still in its infancy. More sponsorships and televised matches are coming to the game every year, but how realistic is it to become a professional pickleball player?
Are you looking to make a professional career out of playing pickleball?
Well, maybe not, but here are some ways to become a pro. The first step is to achieve a 5.0+ rating in the pickleball rating system, which the USAPA determines. From there, it’s all about winning professional tournaments. Making a name for yourself will be a big factor, as is taking on top players and winning consistently.
However, even professional pickleball players still have day jobs, as the professional circuit for the sport is still relatively small but still accessible to up-and-coming pickleball players. Most pro pickleball players offer coaching camps or programs to supplement income and stay busy while not on tour.
It’s important to have dedication and drive to stand out and make a name for yourself as a professional pickleball player. Keep practicing and aim high, and who knows where your skill will take you in the world of professional pickleball?