The Hidden Costs of Being a Pro Pickleball Player

Photoshopped image of a pro pickleball player holding up a $100 bill

As if reaching skill levels over 5.0 wasn't already difficult enough, pickleball players aspiring to go pro have another obstacle to contend with: the costs of entry.

Fan and aspiring pro Tanner Wallace recently tallied up the bare minimum cost to play professional pickleball for a year and posted his results in our Facebook Group.

We know that it typically costs $500 to play in a PPA Tour event. That means if you played in the 22 PPA events this year, you'd have spent $11,000. 

But of course, that doesn't account for the numerous other expenses needed for traveling to these events.

Table showing how much money you'd need to play pro pickleball over the course of 22 events

The Hidden Costs of Playing Pro Pickleball

The amount of money a pro pickleball player can make each year is obviously bolstered by any sponsorship money from brands. Those brands also sometimes cover travel and/or entry costs. 

Still: the costs themselves are significant enough to require planning, especially if you're a player not yet signed by a brand or professional tour.

Tanner's research based on the above tour schedule breaks down like this: 

  • Flights average $450 round trip
  • Four-night hotel stays average at $200 per night, due to having to play qualifying rounds
  • Food for four days works out to about $100, assuming most tour events do provide daytime catering for professional players and parties associated with them

"It all adds up," Tanner says in his post.

"And while splitting costs with a partner might alleviate some of the financial strain, finding a reliable and compatible teammate presents its own challenges. It's a harsh reality check for many aspiring athletes."

But there may be a silver lining in this problem.

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"There are still avenues to compete, improve, and find fulfillment in pickleball, even if the bright lights of the professional circuit remain out of reach," Tanner says.

"Whether it's through local tournaments, club play, or simply hitting the courts with friends, the essence of the sport – the joy of playing – remains accessible to all."

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