The winnings competitors receive from placing in pickleball tournaments may not compare to other racquet sports like tennis yet, but the rewards aren’t worth writing off either. Data has been released from several major tournaments and the results are heartening. Not only is the pay decent, but there’s no discrimination based on gender.
In some instances there is some variation in rewards based on age bracket and event type, but let’s look at a quick breakdown of these events.
The first up is this year’s US Open in Naples. As you’ll see, doubles winners earned more than those playing singles ($4500 or $2250 per person for doubles vs 1750 for singles). This is particularly interesting when you consider that the opposite is true for tennis players. There’s just something about the teamwork, excitement and longer rallies of doubles that picklers love, so perhaps due to the greater draw for those games it was decided the rewards should be greater.
Seniors earned less than younger players regardless of their event and placement. I.e. senior pro gold medalists (in singles) earned $1000 while their younger counterparts earned $1750.
In comparison, we have this year’s Nationals at Indian Wells. According to Jennifer Lucore’s blog, payouts were the same regardless of age or event. “Meaning, each open (under age 50) and senior open (50+) singles, mixed doubles and gender doubles players were paid the same for 1st through 4th place finishes.”
Great news to know that players received fair pay in this popular event. The following were the prize amounts shared:
Nationals Payouts 2018
1st place = $2,250
2nd place = $1,300
3rd place = $750
4th place = $400
This year it seems Nationals had the most balanced payouts for competitors in addition to offering a reward for 4th place, which is uncommon.
Perhaps most intriguing aren’t the tournament payouts per se, but the prize pools offered for wins by sponsors. Selkirk has graciously published their prize pool data, and it’s surprising to see that their payouts were significantly higher than those coming from the actual tournaments.
That’s an extra $5000 or $1000 (depending on age) for placing first in singles if you happen to be a Selkirk rep. It’s not even a question that manufacturers offer the best payouts, particularly if you’re a younger player.
For those getting more serious about competitions, it clearly pays to seek sponsorship from your equipment manufacturer of choice. Don’t turn down free money for using the products you love!
What do you think of the current prize amounts in pickleball tournaments? Are there any other developments or incentives you’d like to see offered to players?