Becoming A Professional Pickleball Player: Expected Salary For Tournament Wins

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By Jacob Jackson

Pickleball’s explosive growth in recent years has opened up opportunities for aspiring professionals to earn prize money in tournaments. If you have the dedication and skills, you can carve out a career in competitive pickleball. Here is what to expect when it comes to salary potential from pro tournament wins.

Turning Pro

To become a professional pickleball player, you need to register with the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) or Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP). The PPA has over 2,500 members while APP has around 1,000. Once you gain entry, you can start entering pro division tournaments with cash prizes.

Play Pickleball Like a Pro

Most pros make money from multiple income streams like sponsorships, appearances, lessons/clinics, merchandise sales and social media besides just tournaments. But competitive success is vital for establishing credibility and supplementing income early on.

Pro Tournament Earnings

The amount you can win depends on the tournament tier ranging from local events to major championships on national television. In 2022, overall prize money hit over $4 million across circuits like the APP, PPA and Major League Pickleball (MLP).

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Here is the typical payout per player for wins in main draw brackets:

  • Local/Regional Events: $500-$3,000+
  • Challenger-Tier Tournaments: $2,000-$7,500
  • Triple Crown Events: $5,000-$15,000+
  • Major League Pickleball: $15,000-$100,000

The top performers can take home six-figure checks at high-profile competitions like the MLP or U.S. Open. But on average, full-time pickleball pros earn between $30,000-$60,000 a year from tournaments and other sources.

Making a Living as a Pro

Trying to earn your sole income from pickleball tournament winnings is unrealistic in the first few years. Most professional players hold down jobs, play part-time or have a working spouse early on.

As you establish a winning record, secure sponsors and build your personal brand, you can devote more time to pickleball. But becoming a well-paid pro requires immense dedication to perfect your skills against elite competition.

With pickleball’s popularity increasing, more events offer bigger payouts. If you put in the hard yards as an amateur and continue improving, you have an exciting career of endorsements, travel and prize money fame ahead. Dreams of becoming the next pickleball superstar can absolutely become reality with the drive to succeed.

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