On Aug. 4, a $2.33 million deal was signed securing Legacy Sports Holdings a 10-year lease for a 4-acre parcel on Route 50, soon to be the home of the largest pickleball center in the region, and the first of five centers like it in the Northeast.
Renovations to the 20,000 sq. ft. warehouse at Corporate Technology Park, 4 McCrea Hill Road, by Wilton-based contractor the JAG Group, LLC., will include the addition of eight indoor courts, 15 - 20 outdoor courts, a player’s lounge (serving beer and wine), state of the art restroom facilities and locker area, and a pro-shop.
The pickleball boom is here.
Relishing the Moment
Today, Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. Early estimates indicated the number of pickleball players in the US would reach 21 million by 2030. According to a recent report by the American Pickleball Association, the popularity of pickleball has exploded well beyond that, shattering early estimates.
In just the past year, approximately 35 million people participated in the sport. Players are more demographically diverse than previously thought, as well, with the average age of today’s player being 34 years old (median age was 58). Pickleball is also family friendly, with lessons for children often beginning at 8-10-years-old.
“Anyone can play this game and become proficient in a short period of time,” said Legacy Pickleball Club’s General Manager Michael Xirinachs.
Easy to learn and affordable to play, the demand for pickleball is outpacing available courts locally. In a private feasibility study, excessive wait times (due to the courts being full on any given day) was the largest concern among residents, followed by travel time – many are commuting more than an hour to play. Of those surveyed, 94% said they’d consider joining a pickleball club and 71% would play more, if an indoor facility were available nearby.
As star athletes and tournaments attract record attendance, a wave of investors, sponsors, and retailers are rushing to cash in on the action, which shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Highly motivated after previous plans for a facility in Malta were halted, the Legacy Pickleball Club has an aggressive timeline that will see players on their courts this fall. In the future, a 55,000 sq. ft. addition is planned to shelter half of the outdoor courts.
In addition to protecting the court surface from the elements, having so many indoor courts reduces the need to switch playing styles, which in pickleball, are substantially different for indoor and outdoor play, learned Xirinachs when he embarked on this endeavor as a recreational player two years ago.
Each change in season thrust him into a different game. Outdoor pickleball is played on asphalt with a harder, faster ball perforated by 40 holes, giving it more kick.
For indoor courts, the ball is softer, lighter, and has fewer, larger holes, changing the way it hits and grips the playing surface, which in this area, has primarily been glaringly-bright gymnasium floors inundated with a confusing collection of lines (because they must accommodate a variety of other sports, as well).
Instead, Legacy’s proprietary cushioned court system features seven layers of shock-absorbing materials beneath the playing surface that significantly reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries, knee, and joint pain. With the ability to play indoors year-round, players gain experience and confidence, improving their swing, timing, and hand-eye-coordination.
A Sweet Dill
When Xirinachs moved to Saratoga from Long Island (where he was part-owner in a 100,000 sq. ft. indoor sports dome for six years), what he enjoyed most about pickleball was the welcoming community he found with the sport.
In addition to its physical health benefits, Xirinachs, a graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in psychology, and the 2021 founder of The-OliveBranch.com (a website encouraging emotional peace within), said being able to bring people of all ages together on a continuous basis around a common interest has many emotional benefits to the community.
Legacy Pickleball Club is offering general and senior memberships, reserved courts, and drop-in open play times. Courts are arranged by skill level, so beginners won’t be paired with more experienced players. Legacy also provides paddles and balls, if required. Among their 10 full-time staff positions, Legacy is excited to have in-house pro instructor Pete Bogarczuk offering private and group lessons, league, academy, and tournament play.
Act Now: Within the next two weeks, Legacy Pickleball Club will be launching their Founding Members special. For the first 100 members only; pay a one-time membership fee and court fees will be waved for the entire first year.
For more information, follow Legacy Pickleball Club on Facebook, Instagram, and go to www.legacypbclub.com