Brooklyn, home of pickleball, now “exports” the game


A proud group of pickleball players pose for a group photo at Leif Ericson Park. YouTube picture

Not only is Brooklyn the birthplace of pickleball, but Brooklynites are now exporting the sport elsewhere.

The sport, which has been described as a mix of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, gained traction here earlier this year when Brooklyn Bridge Park added three pickleball courts to Pier 2. They replaced the bowls underutilized.

Don’t think it’s just a Brooklyn Heights phenomenon, either. There are also pickleball courts at Leif Ericson Park in Bay Ridge, McCarren Park in Greenpoint, Winthrop Playground in Crown Heights and elsewhere.

Pickleball fans playing at Leif Ericson Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and elsewhere in the borough have been posting exciting matches online.

Pickleball courts in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Now, according to Long Island Business JournalBig River LLC, which the publication describes as a “Brooklyn-based sports development group,” purchased a 20,000 square foot building in Sayville, Long Island, to create a recreational pickleball complex.

The building was once used for indoor football and lacrosse, indicating that pickleball has overtaken some other sports in popularity. The group says it plans to open the new pickleball center by September, according to the publication.

In 2021, the Sport and Fitness Industry Association declared pickleball “the fastest growing sport in America.” The organization also estimated that 4.2 million people played pickleball in 2020, up 21% from the previous year.

Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton court with a modified tennis net. Players hold a ping-pong type racket that has a longer handle and hit a plastic ball with holes in it.

“We are thrilled to bring the sport to Brooklyn Bridge Park, said Eric Landau, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, during the opening of the aforementioned pickleball courts. “It’s a great exercise, enjoyed by all age groups, and is becoming increasingly popular.”


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