Over the last two years, pickleball’s popularity has picked up all around the Austin area. Pickleball is a social sport played on a condensed court that’s a combination between tennis and ping-pong.
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, participation in the sport has nearly doubled to 5 million players in the United States over a seven-year span. About 17% of players are 65 and older, while a third are under 25.
For Round Rock firefighter Seth Monroe, this opened an opportunity to create a new business.
“It’s friendly for all ages, fun for all body types, athletic sizes and shapes,” he said. “You could be unathletic or super athletic and also be successful at pickleball.”
With this in mind, Monroe started 002, a brand focused on creating opportunities for pickleball enthusiasts. It puts on pickleball tournaments, events and even sells merchandise for the growing sport.
Early in 2020, he started off hosting tournaments with around 12 teams.
Now, 002 has nearly 90 teams signed up for each competition.
Austin resident AJ Davis plays pickleball almost every day.
“It’s a great way to feel community, meet people and have a really good time,” she said.
This weekend, 002 is hosting its biggest tournament yet. Over 260 people are signed up for the second annual Dink and Slam Pickleball Jam.
It’ll take place all day on Saturday and Sunday at the Austin Tennis Center.
It’s one of 10 tournaments 002 has organized this year with even more planned in the pipeline in 2023.