Once A Week, But Never Weakly
There’s No Crying in Pickleball
by Nick Coston, U.S. Sales Director, The Neuron; Industry Humorist
It’s most definitely the year of the “P’s”. Pickleball, meet Programmatic. Although completely unrelated, and most definitely, nothing to do with pickles, one is a relatively new sport, compared to croquet I guess, and the other is a relatively new way to buy media. They both begin with the letter “P”, they both have made huge strides in the last 10 years, they both have added plenty of commerce into their respective systems, and believe it or not, there’s no age limit. Young or old can play or buy. Nobody really checks on your age, and nobody really cares. Millions of people use both. You just go about your business and enjoy the ride. Freedom rings. God Bless the USA.
This year, over 90% of all digital display ad dollars will transact programmatically. Keep in mind that’s not just digital out of home, in fact we’re just a small percentage of the big picture. Online digital ads, transacted programmatically through Facebook, Google, Yahoo, The Trade Desk, and related video, CTV formats, are beating the crap out of traditional television, radio, print, and OOH. And why not. Here in the U.S., almost everyone has a cell phone, almost everyone has access to a computer, a TV, or a notebook. Anything that has access to the Internet. In other words, programmatic digital advertising is huge and getting huger by the moment. And more importantly, programmatic digital out of home is starting to catch up and also showing strong gains every year.
Likewise, with the phenomenon growth of programmatic buying, the sport of Pickleball has quietly amassed a huge following that is not slowing down. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States. Currently close to 5 million folks play it. And it’s growing so fast because it’s low impact, doesn’t take up a lot of space, doesn’t need a lot of equipment and people of all ages can play it. To win a game in pickle ball, all I know is you have to win by 2 points, whoever gets to 11 points is a winner and by rule, must buy the post Pickleball beer and nachos. I made that last rule up. A hybrid of badminton, ping-pong and tennis, it still has about another 14 million players to go before it becomes as popular as tennis, but ever since 2010, similar to digital programmatic ads, it’s where the growth is. Don’t think it’s a game solely for the elderly, just because it’s popular where your grandparents play in The Villages. Right now, the biggest percentage of Pickleball players are between the ages of 18 and 35. No kidding. Older folks get all the attention because well, they generally beat the younger kids.
They even have their own ruling body, USA Pickleball. Look it up, I kid you not. It’s become a very popular sport in physical education classes in schools and adult living communities. Honestly, I hope to pick up the sports sometime in the fall. I mean why not, I already picked up programmatic digital advertising in the last year, graduating onto Pickleball playing seems to be the natural progression. I played a lot of ping-pong and tennis growing up, and who didn’t play badminton during summer vacation? I was also an old school media buyer for many years, and look at me now, graduated on to the next level.
And why not? Picking up Pickleball won’t be very hard. Just like buying programmatic advertising, you don’t have to move very far. A few quick moves to your left and right, adjust your feet and you can do either of these tasks. And once you learn the ropes it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can crank both all day. One will even make you a lot of money so you can afford to play as much Pickleball as you want.
I like the way this is all coming together.
But take it from me, don’t hork down a big meal before trying to do either. You’ll get really tired, you’ll make a lot of mistakes and in the end, you will lose. And your client will fire you because you weren’t paying attention on what media you were buying. So be prepared, go in lean and mean, and go for the win.
Keep in mind, just like there’s never any real champagne in The Champagne Room, there are no pickles in Pickleball. If you remember that little fact, you’re gonna be just fine.