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by Kelly Campbell 

The 57th annual Super Bowl will be held in the Arizona Cardinal’s State Farm Stadium in Glendale this upcoming weekend –– and the Valley is preparing for a record-breaking inflow of football fans. Pickleball fanatics everywhere hope that the influx of travel to Phoenix, the pickleball capital of the world, could recruit new players and bring more notoriety to the sport. 

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles will compete for Super Bowl victory on Sunday, February 12th (kickoff at 4:30 MST). The State Farm Stadium has a Super Bowl capacity of 73,000 people. 

In addition to the Super Bowl, another highly-anticipated sports event will be in full swing this weekend –– the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Feb 6-12). The event is the most-attended golf tournament in the world.  Each year, the golf tournament recruits thousands of spectators to the Scottsdale area as part of the PGA Tour. These two huge sports events falling on the same weekend have the potential to encourage increased pickleball activities and awareness for out-of-towners.

Read on to learn about the connection that has grown between football and pickleball the last few years, places to play in Phoenix for Super Bowl travelers, and how the influx of Super Bowl travel to the Pickleball capital of the world could impact the sport. 

Downs to Drives to Dinks –– Surprising Connections Between Pickleball and Football

Pickleball and football are connected in more ways than you might think. As pickleball grows in popularity around the world, it has made tremendous strides in becoming a mainstream professional sport. 

In early 2022, Tom Dundon made headlines for purchasing Pickleball Central and the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA). Dundon is chairperson of the Alliance of Professional Football, while Pickleball Central and PPA are two of the largest pickleball organizations to date. Other football professionals, like former New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, and Tom Brady have also invested in pickleball by buying Major League Pickleball teams. You can read more about the Tom Dundon purchase by reading our blog, Tom Dundon’s Drop Shot into Pickleball.

Pickleball has become a beloved activity among professional athletes, including football players. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is a known pickler. Super Bowl LVII athlete, KC Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes also plays and invested in Major League Pickleball in December. There are likely some other picklers among the two teams, but with Mahomes’ pickleball history, we know for sure that there will be some picklers competing this Sunday. 

It seems that golf and pickleball have a bit more history, which makes sense considering their similarities. Both are considered lifetime sports with an older demographic of players, both are associated with playing in beautiful weather, and recreational sports for both are common. If Super Bowl fans aren’t likely to pick up a paddle this weekend, the Phoenix Open fans likely will. 

Record-Breaking Travel to Phoenix, the Pickleball Capital of the World 

Phoenix is bracing for record-breaking travel this weekend for both the Super Bowl and the Waste Management tournament. 

Sky Harbor Airport’s Heather Shelbrack told AZ family, “the last time we hosted the Super Bowl, we had about 175,000 people come through the airport and that number was down a little bit because of weather impacts elsewhere, which canceled and delayed flights. This year, we’re anticipating record numbers of visitors arriving not just for the Super Bowl –– but for other Valley events like the Phoenix Open.”

When both events landed on the same weekend in the area in 2015, 97.5% of hotel rooms in Scottsdale were filled, a 32% increase from 2014. 

With historic numbers that are likely to be mostly made up of KC Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles fans coming from colder climates, Phoenix visitors will likely soak in the warmth and spend time outdoors –– and what better way to do that than by playing pickleball? With temperatures in the 70s and lots of sunshine, February is a great time of year in Phoenix to play. In the Phoenix area, there are matches every day. Hopefully, for those visitors who are still unfamiliar with the sport, Phoenix’s pickleball popularity will spark their interest and encourage them to pick up a paddle.

Places for Superbowl Travelers to Get Their Dink On 

If you’re traveling to Phoenix this weekend, here are some places to stay and play pickleball. Check out our blog –– Top 5 Arizona Pickleball Complexes –– for more information about pickleball in Phoenix. For everything you need to know about places to play, clubs to join, and ways to connect with other players, use TrackitHub’s #1 pickleball management platform. 

Resorts with Pickleball Courts 

JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa 

Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Hilton Phoenix Tapatio Cliffs Resort 

Adero Scottsdale

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain

The Phoenician

Public Courts 

Telephone Pioneers of America Park 

Paradise Valley Community Center

Encanto Sports Complex

Pecos Community Center

G.R. Herberger Park


CBS Sports 

TPC Scottsdale

Cronkite News

Arizona Foothills

AZ Central