Pickleball ... Is There Really $$$ in it?

This weird pattern with Kevin Durant, Leonardo Dicaprio, Ellen Degeneres and what they've all invested into.



March 22, 2023

Gday Mates! Here's what we have for you today:

  • The pickleball craze has created new deal opportunities
  • Deal opportunities in the pickleball arena
  • Off Market booty
  • Employee v. independent contractor - a few pointers

Pickleball is Attracting Big $$$ and Creating Startups  

Pickleball is the hottest ๐Ÿ”ฅ sport on the block! It is the fastest growing sport ๐Ÿš€ for the last two years (almost year-to-year increase of 40%) thanks to social media and the days of Covid where people were looking for new activities. What started as a summer pastime in the 1960's is taking on the trappings of a multifaceted commercial enterprise that is attracting real sponsors, investors, and developers. ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Not surprisingly, entrepreneurs are also waking up to this unique market opportunity.๐Ÿ’ฅ Millions of dollars ๐Ÿ’ต pouring into the Pickleball industry, and new startups are appearing by the week. Entrepreneurs are moving quickly into the space, especially as the "Eatertainment" (i.e. Topgolf) ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ“ ๐Ÿ” continues to gain more traction.๐Ÿš€

What is Pickleball?

If you somehow haven't heard, it is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, ๐Ÿคชand it's played on a court that's about one-third the size of a tennis court.  Part of the draw is it's relatively easy to learn and can be played by people of all ages and skill levels (and the initial increase in demand was from an older 55+ demographic). 

It's becoming so popular that many cities are converting basketball and tennis courts into exclusive pickleball courts. ๐Ÿคซ

Who is Investing in Pickleball?  ๐Ÿ’ต ๐Ÿ’ต

The growth and popularity of Pickleball has led to the creation of a variety of businesses. Major broadcast networks like CBS, Fox Sports and the Tennis Channel now air pickleball matches ๐ŸŽฅ, and retailers like Sketchers also signing pickleball athletes. Private equity is also buying in: Carolina Hurricanes owner and private equity investor Tom Dundon recently purchased the Pro Pickleball Association and Pickleball Central. The general consensus is that this sport will grow by multiples in less than five years. ๐Ÿš€

Of course, major developers are also partnering to turn Big Box retail space into pickleball courts. The "Eatertainment" fad works well with pickleball and Chicken N Pickle and Volli are some of the market entrants to take advantage of this space. And Lifetime fitness is adding pickleball as an additional offering for its members. ๐Ÿ’ช

Pickleball is a Great Networking Tool ๐Ÿ•บ

Pickleball is a new form of networking that does not require hours on the golf course or a lot of prior experience or private lessons to have a good time. There are built-in pickleball groups in almost any market, and the game itself, provides an environment for social connections.  Pickleheads is a website that helps you locate pickleball courts nearby.


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For the love of Media Acquisitions! ๐Ÿค˜

Florida Pickleball Company Seeking Investors - The Pickleball Club is located in Florida that provides investment opportunities in its premier membership-based business model that is growing quickly

Established Pickleball Retail Store For Sale ($795,000) - This turn-key business is one of the larges independent tennis/pickleball pro-shops in the Mid-Atlantic region (BizBuySell)

Pickleball Franchising Opportunity ($75,000)- The American Pickleball Association is offering franchising rights to anyone with $50,000 in liquid capital and a minimum net worth of $75,000, and an estimated startup capital cost of $35,000 to get going.

Employees v. Contractors/Freelancers 

Employee - on company payroll, receives wages, benefits, and formal training โœ”๏ธ

Contractor - hired for a specific project who has autonomy from the company โœ”๏ธ

Easy right? Not so fast ๐Ÿ›‘ . . . companies (especially small startups) misclassify because they think as long as they pay the employees and contractor differently, no worries. . . . .

But, the good ole' IRS ๐Ÿ˜ˆ looks not only at how the company pays them, but how much independence or freedom does the contractor have in their work. The IRS ๐Ÿ˜ˆ actually looks at about 20(!) factors ๐Ÿคฏ, but here are the five most critical:

(1) When, where and how is the work done? Is the work performed at the employerโ€™s place of business? Does the employer set the hours?  Does the employer provide the tools/equipment?

(2) Is the worker required to complete company training? 

(3) Is the worker doing full-time, ongoing/continual work? Or are they doing temporary work on projects that have specific endpoints?

(4) Is the worker paid hourly, weekly or monthly? ๐Ÿ’ฐ Or do they get paid once an entire project is complete?

(5) Does the company pay for travel? โœˆ๏ธIndependent contractors, however, pay their own travel costs

But, what if you mess it up?  You're looking at paying pay back taxes, as well as fines and penalties. ๐Ÿ˜ก

"Turnkey" Medical Screening Company For Sale - an established medical screening company is looking for a buyer to take over its streamlined operation with long-term customer relationships. It specializes in performing onsite medical screening (heart disease, vascular disease, cancer, and COVID) for a wide variety of companies.  Preventive healthcare is a rapidly growing industry and this onsite screening provides a "win-win" proposition for any company looking to include an additional benefit for its employees at a reasonable cost.

Please contact mubarak@dealmaven.io or john@dealmaven.io for further details. 

That's a wrap for today. Go get that booty  & see ya Friday! If you want more, be sure to follow our Twitter (@DealMavenio)


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