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January 25, 2024
Last August, License Global reported on the growing sport of pickleball. NBC and Fortune have both referred to it as the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) conducted research in 2023, revealing that 48.3 million adult Americans – nearly 19% of the total adult population – have played pickleball at least once in the past 12 months. This is an increase of 35% since the APP concluded its last research in August 2022, when the adult participation number reached 36.5 million.
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the racket sport has grown over 170% in the past four years. With that much enthusiasm for a sport, there’s undoubtedly money to be made. Business Research Insights estimated the pickleball paddle market size to be $148.5 million in 2021. The group expects it to grow to $253.8 million by 2028. License Global reported on a smattering of licensing deals in 2023. In April, License Global reported Vlasic Pickles, an American pickle brand, was teaming up with Sprints, a performance accessories brand, for a limited-edition collection of pickleball gear. Skechers launched its first pickleball footwear in 2022 and has sponsored pickleball tournaments in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. In August, tennis brand, K-Swiss, announced its new multiyear partnership with professional pickleball player, Matt Manasse, for apparel and footwear. And in October, Perry Ellis and ACI International announced plans to launch a line of performance pickleball footwear. There’s even a National Pickleball Day (Aug. 8) and talk of adding pickleball to the Olympics in 2032.
One thing we know for sure is that sports fans love licensed gear and apparel, so we knew it wouldn’t take long before more licensed pickleball products bounced onto the scene. Now, San Diego-based Rally Republic has launched as the first California-inspired lifestyle brand explicitly created for pickleball enthusiasts.
A team of entrepreneurs in the e-commerce, apparel and licensed sports sectors founded the company. Rally Republic’s flagship paddles include West Coast-inspired designs featuring bright neon colors, checkers, stripes, lightning bolts, suns, rainbows, palm trees and more.
In addition, Rally Republic has official licensing from most major U.S. colleges and universities, sororities and fraternities, enabling pickleball players to showcase their college, sports team or Greek spirit while on the court. Rally Republic is also one of the only pickleball paddle manufacturers whose carbon paddles are licensed and approved by the U.S.A. Pickleball Association.
“We are incredibly excited to formally unveil Rally Republic to the U.S. pickleball community,” says Chad Phillips, president, Rally Republic. “To me and millions of others who play, pickleball is more than just a game – it’s a way of life. We are committed to creating paddles, equipment and apparel that embody the spirit of the sport while helping players feel (and play) their best on and off the court. This commitment – combined with our team’s omnichannel merchandising experience and established retail and licensing relationships – will be the key factors in driving our company’s innovation and growth to become the most successful pickleball lifestyle brand in the U.S.” Rally Republic’s product lineup will soon expand with plans to unveil apparel, equipment and accessory lines.
Content Editor, License Global
Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.
She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.
A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.
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