JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Pickleball players from eight states are competing in the first annual GO.ALL.OUT. Pickleball Championships in Johnson City.
The tournament is hosted by Visit Johnson City and the Southern Pickleball Association at the Memorial Park Community Center from April 21-23. The tournament is open to players of all ages and skill levels.
According to organizers, about 150 players are taking part in the three-day tournament. Spectators are welcome to come out and watch.
Brackets include a wide range of ages as well as men’s, women’s and mixed doubles.
Southern Pickleball Association President Mark Spackman said the organization hopes to return to Johnson City in October for another championship.
Spackman told News Channel 11 that the sport has gained immense popularity in recent years.
“We’ve seen a crazy growth in pickleball,” he said. “And you’re seeing it on television now on the Tennis Channel, on ESPN. There’s about eight million people playing pickleball around the country right now, and they expect in the next five years it’ll be 40 million people playing. So it’s time to come out and give it a shot.”
Spackman said that while pickleball was first referred to by many as a game for senior demographics, that has changed.
“When pickleball started, it seemed like it was a senior sport, sort of 50 plus up,” Spackman said. “But I saw something the other day that said the average age now is 38 for pickleball. So we’re seeing everything with junior players on up playing pickleball.”