Walmart has discovered pickleball.
America’s largest retailer announced it is teaming up with the booking company, Break the Love, to underwrite 125,000 comped pickleball court reservations around the county for its customers and employees.
To be eligible for free court time, classes, and events, Walmart shoppers have to upload a screenshot of a recent store receipt.
The booking site is https://www.breakthelove.com/clubs/walmart
So far, reservations are being made in 10 states in a variety of places: Everything from the Chicken N Pickle restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, to a slew of YouFit Gyms in Florida, to the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
“We are always looking for ways to create meaningful experiences that encourage our customers to interact with Walmart in new ways,” said Casey Schlaybaugh, a brand marketing executive with the chain. “Walmart is dedicated to supporting its customers and their communities, helping them find and access everyday opportunities to create moments of joy and connection in their lives.”
The Walmart push will be introducing pickleball opportunities to the millions of shoppers who frequent the 4,717 Walmart stores in the U.S.
And who knows, with those kind of numbers, the Walmartization of pickleball could introduce some interesting changes to the game.
For example, will there be old men in vests greeting arriving players to the court? And what about a doubles motorized-shopping-cart division in tournaments?
Walmart isn’t just going to dole out free court reservations to its shoppers. It also plans to sponsor 25 community events around the country and to expand its sales of pickleball merchandise online and in their box stores.
That merchandise ranges from a $22 Onix two-paddle starter set to a $200 Diadem paddle.
Once Walmart shoppers become dinkers, will Target be next to jump on the pickleball bandwagon?