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by Kelly Campbell

We’re a little over a week out from the premiere of Pickled, the long-awaited, two-hour-long celebrity pickleball tournament hosted by Stephen Colbert. The special was announced in early 2022, and we can expect to see celebrities from all fields––including actress Emma Watson and Will Ferrell––put their best dinks forward in these fun and competitive matches. 

The event is the result of a collaboration between Stephen Colbert’s Spartina Productions, Funny or Die, and CBS studios to raise money for charity. In addition to intense drop shots and smashes, the special will include calls to action for viewers to donate to and learn about Comic Relief US’ work addressing the impact of homelessness on children and families. 

“I love hosting The Late Show, but at the end of the day — and I’m specifically talking about the hours between 8 and 10 p.m. Eastern — I see Pickled as a chance to bring lots of different people together for something playful and unpredictable,” Colbert said about the special.

The tournament was filmed in September at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. It will premiere on CBS and will stream on Paramount+. We can’t wait for this exhibition of pickleball in the limelight and to find out which celebrity will bring home the Colbert Cup. 

Pickled Details- 

Air Date: Thursday 11/17

Where to Watch: CBS and Paramount+

Competitors: 16 celebrities from different backgrounds 

Donate Here: Comic Relief US + Pickled

What Celebrities will be featured in the Pickled Special?

The Pickled tournament competitors are 16 celebrities from a variety of career backgrounds. Some are seasoned celebrity picklers, but others had no pickleball experience before this event. The contestants had access to a coach to train beforehand and will play doubles matches. 

Here’s the list of known celebrity appearances to expect to see watching Pickled – 

Stephen Colbert, Emma Watson, Will Ferrell, Max Greenfield, Dierks Bentley, Jimmie Allen, Murray Bartlett, Jaime Camil, Luis Guzman, Phil Keoghan, Daniel Dae Kim, Tig Notaro, June, Diane Raphael, Kelly Rowland, Paul Scheer, Aisha Tyler. 

What is the prize for Pickled contestants?

Eight teams of two celebrities will attempt to out-dink each other for the Colbert Cup. In addition to the cup and pickleball fame, the main goal is to raise money for charity. 

Celebrity Pickleball in Recent Years

Pickleball has been a popular sport among celebrities for years, but this is the first organized celebrity pickleball event ever. In recent years, there have been numerous pickleball plugs on major news networks detailing pickleball’s health benefits, its spike in popularity during COVID, and more. An increasing number of courts have been built across the country, improving access for all to play. With this event, the public display of celebrities who are a part of the pickleball community is sure to increase pickleball popularity even more.

There are so many pickleball-loving celebrities––including Bill Gates and The Kardashians––and it will be great to welcome even more to the sport. Check out TrackitHub’s blog Primetime Pickleball: Celebrity Players & CBS’s Pickled for our list of known celebrity players. 

What Does Pickled Mean for the Future of Pickleball? 

With its lineup of A-List celebrity contestants, the Pickled special will likely draw a huge audience. After the special airs, we can expect to see even more pickleball buzz than ever before. 

Although pickleball has made huge strides in the professional sports world, with increased funding from Tom Dundon, LeBron James, and more, there is a lot more room for pickleball growth outside of sports. The Pickled special will tap into a new demographic who still might not be very familiar with pickleball. We all know how much influence celebrities can have, and this public display of celebrity pickleball love is sure to recruit new players that might not already be athletes.

The increase in pickleball exposure from this tournament will lead to more players and an increase in pickleball equipment sales, which will funnel more money into pickleball. More financial investment in the sport will give new and seasoned picklers access to more and better pickleball resources across the country. 

The specific emphasis on pickleball among those outside of the professional sports industry will also likely lead to more pickleball entertainment venues (as opposed to just public courts and sports-focused facilities). This is a huge and relatively untapped area of opportunity for pickleball. These sites mainly focus on pickleball but also overall family fun––often including live music, great restaurants, and bars. 

We will be tuning in on Thursday 11/17, and can’t wait to watch pickleball popularity skyrocket after the special. 

sources –


The Hollywood Reporter