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Pickleball Hits Major Broadcast Network for the First Time in History

News Stacie Townsend 08-22-2022

Pickleball was broadcasted on a major network for the first time in its history, as the PPA Skechers Invitational aired on CBS. A few fun facts from this milestone event for pickleball:

  • The first-ever pickleball game on a major network featured four female pickleball pros: Leigh Waters, Anna Leigh Waters, Lucy Kovalova, and Callie Smith. This is fitting, as many pickleball players and spectators enjoy women’s doubles the most. #girlpower

Pickleball Hits Major Broadcast Network for the First Time in History | Pickler Pickleball

  • Shoutout to Braden Keith, who tracked down the viewership data from this broadcast. The CBS broadcast reached about 621,000 people (including about 138,000 people aged 18-49, which is the key demographic that advertisers target). Keith noted on the Pickleball Forum on Facebook that this falls “somewhere between ‘not bad’ and ‘not great’ for the channel/time slot,” and seems to fall behind other broadcasts like the Little League World Series games, golf, NASCAR, and the WNBA matchup.
Persons 2+ Adults 18-49 Household (Rating) 
621,000 138,000 0.37
  • The PPA paid for the airtime with CBS to try to propel the sport and their tour forward. Given that a PPA stream typically reaches 2,000-3,000 people live, the PPA Tour certainly reached a broader audience (about 200-300 times more).

Pickleball Hits Major Broadcast Network for the First Time in History | Pickler Pickleball

  • This was an exhibition-style event with many different match-ups (including the #1 seeds on the year versus the #2 seeds in the broadcasted matches). The notable performers were:
    • Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns each took home the titles in women’s singles and women’s doubles (with her mother, Leigh Waters), and men’s singles and men’s doubles (with his brother, Collin Johns), respectively. Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova grabbed the mixed doubles title.
    • Callan Dawson went undefeated on the weekend, lobbing his way to victory in all 5 of his exhibition matches.

Pickleball Hits Major Broadcast Network for the First Time in History | Pickler Pickleball

    • Tyson McGuffin got noticed by Barstool Sports for his on-court demeanor and style (particularly, for his mullet and mustache combination), and was even dubbed the “Most Electrifying Man in Sports.”

Pickleball Hits Major Broadcast Network for the First Time in History | Pickler Pickleball

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