Watch Pickleball on Tv

Don't Call Pickleball on TV Anything but "awesome"

DALLAS, TX - As pickleball continues to grow in popularity and garner more exposure on mainstream media platforms, people are either over the moon to watch their new favorite sport or they just don't get the hype.

With that in mind, writer Benjamin Hart penned an article in New York Magazine’s Intelligencer section back in February claiming that “Pickleball looks really dumb on TV.”

I completely disagree.

I realize I'm biased. I write for and I follow the headlines like it’s my job - because it is - but there's no denying that America's fastest-growing sport has steadily earned its rightful place in the broadcast arena.

While some people still insist that pickleball is an activity reserved strictly for retirement communities and doesn't deserve screentime on renowned networks like ESPN, I'm here to prove them wrong.

Just take a look at this epic point in a mixed doubles match. Talk about good stuff...


The exchange is dynamic, exciting, and high-energy. AJ Koller and Andrea Koop repeatedly slam the ball, and Riley and Lindsey Newman expertly recover and keep things going. All four players are continuously moving around the court and showcasing their outstanding ability... and this is just a single point. Imagine the highlight-reel potential during an entire match.

Hart also fails to acknowledge the inherent drama involved in any given match. Follow your favorite players closely during a tournament and watch them at work as they navigate their respective brackets. Over the course of a singles or doubles match, there are so many unpredictable twists and turns that captivate the viewer. The highs and lows of a match make things interesting and will keep you coming back for more.

Case in point, tension filled the stands at the MLP Super Finals earlier this month when the Chicago Slice were in prime position to fall to the Orlando Squeeze 

Cue the dramatic comeback.


Next up, watch Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters battle it out point by point below. The compete level is simply incredible, and things finally conclude in a dramatic, nail-biting third game.

With so many remarkable athletes to root for, the possibilities for memorable matchups and crazy upsets are endless.


Check out any match featuring Allyce Jones. She’s a little firecracker on the court. Jones even fell over a court barrier to return a ball, quickly jumped back over the fence, and still managed to win the point with doubles partner Hurricane Tyra Black.


Hart claims that the main problem with watching professional pickleball is the sport's “inherent casualness.” With its low barrier of entry and general accessibility, Hart believes that very fact is pickleball's Achilles’ heel.

He writes that given the sport’s basic set-up: “It’s impossible for anyone playing it to look at all impressive. The physical manifestation of those strategies doesn’t translate into exciting viewing because the players aren’t moving all that much. It’s all too slow to be very dynamic.”

Please, just watch a singles match.

Better yet, go play a little one-on-one and tell me it’s not an insane amount of work.


In this post from The Kitchen that identifyies a particularly special point during an MLP match, Federico Staksrud commented: “This is why singles may be the future of pickle. Imagine watching matches where 30 to 40 percent of the points look like that. I see singles being more attractive for TV.”

As more athletes elect to enter the pro ranks and make pickleball a career, match quality will only improve, and a more dynamic watching experience will follow suit.

Those who think the game is too slow don't understand pickleball's strategic intricacies. The sport is deceptively simple, but once you pick up a paddle and play competitively, you realize that it can be just as gritty as any other sport.

Pickleball features a dramatic build-up of slow, methodical moves from one side of the court to the other. Expertly-timed speedups, for example, throw off opponents and create chaos. It’s a mind game of maneuvers.

Pick any singles contest for proof.


During the first game, it seems like World No. 1 Ben Johns is running away with the victory, but Christian Alshon has other ideas and he pushes right back.

“What’s outwardly lacking is a clear demonstration of athleticism,” said Hart.

He couldn’t be more wrong.

Is pickleball as physically demanding as hockey? Maybe not. But, take a look at any pickleball pro and tell me they aren't athletic.

They clearly maintain fitness and health regimens similar to those in other major sports.

Whether you care to admit it or not, pickleball is also good exercise.

“Pickleball is tailor-made for people who might fare far worse at more physically demanding activities,” explained Hart.

Natural athletic ability is undoubtedly required to be the best at something, no matter how niche the skill. Whether it’s shooting a basketball into a hoop or firing a bowling ball down a lane to knock down 10 pins, there’s talent involved.

Pickleball is great for TV compared to other racket sports. From a media standpoint, pickleball is much easier to broadcast because matches are relatively quick, typically lasting less than 60 minutes each. Compare that to the Wimbledon men's singles final match in July that lasted four hours and 42 minutes. Let’s face it, our attention spans aren’t necessarily willing to spend nearly five hours with the same players.

Yes, pickleball broadcasting is working out the kinks with respect to line cameras.

It’s a sport that only has room to grow and get better on TV.

At the very end of the article, Hart admitted that he’s a tennis loyalist, so his disdain for pickleball isn't surprising.

Here’s the most practical solution: if you hate watching pickleball, just don’t watch it. Change the channel and find something else, but you're missing out on an underdog sport.