Pickleball: the only sport in America to have pickle in its name, yet have nothing to do with cucumbers. In its defense, it does involve a ball; so its half right. Maybe you’ve played it before, maybe you’ve never even heard of it. The sport has been rapidly expanding to where it’s now the official state sport of Washington. You know what else has headquarters in Washington? Amazon. And guess what Prime Video will be bringing to you live? That’s right, PICKLEBALL!!!!
So, what is pickleball? Well, take a tennis court, make it smaller, lower the net a bit, use paddles instead of rackets, and use a kind of Wiffle ball that doesn’t fly as fast or bounce as hard. Basically, these changes make for a game that can be more recreationally fun than tennis as they lower the skill ceiling down quite a bit. Yes, there’s still a lot of skill involved, but you don’t have as much of a court to run back and forth across and the ball is not going to move as fast as a tennis ball, given its full of holes.
There are other differences as well. Like how only the serving team can score points and areas of the court you’re not allowed to volley in, all of which could make for some interesting broadcasting. At least that’s what Prime Video thinks as they’ve already started broadcasting pickleball tournaments, with more lined up in the future. They’re currently airing the Acrytech Atlantic Open until May 21st, with the next even being the Vulcan Kansas City Open from August 24th to the 27th. There are actually 25 different events on the Professional Pickleball Association tour, with Prime only broadcasting four of them.
Having previously played pickleball myself in my high school days, this is one of the few sporting type events that I can actually say I enjoyed participating in. The bar to entry in terms of learning the game and being able to hold your own is surprisingly attainable. It was also fun watching two people play, or four of them in a doubles match. Whether it’s going to make for good broadcasting fare is another matter, but hey, if they can broadcast curling and people tune in for it, why not pickleball?