Pickleball Magazine Feature: Pickleball in the Sun Promotes Pickleball as a Luxurious Lifestyle Brand

Pickleball Magazine Feature: Pickleball in the Sun Promotes Pickleball as a Luxurious Lifestyle Brand

Feature story for the Pickleball Magazine July/August 2022 Issue written by Jennifer Brozak. Read the full issue HERE.

As the saying goes, when opportunity knocks, open the door. Over the past few years, Laura Gainor has heeded this ageless wisdom by transforming an unexpected opportunity into a flourishing career promoting the sport of pickleball.

Gainor is the founder of Vossberg Gainor, an agency focused squarely on pickleball marketing. She is also the creator of “Pickleball in the Sun,” a website that promotes pickleball as a luxury lifestyle and destination sport.

After a successful 15-year career in corporate and sports marketing—including a period of time that required weekly commutes between Milwaukee and Chicago–Gainor decided to launch her own agency so that she could spend more time with her young children.

“In 2019, as we were living in Chicago and I was commuting a few days a week back and forth between Milwaukee and Chicago, I decided it was time for me to venture off on my own and start my own business with the goal of getting a client or two—not knowing what was about to come and change my life,” said Gainor.

Shortly after launching her agency, Gainor’s husband Brian, a sports marketing executive, introduced her to George Bauernfeind, a marketing director with USA Pickleball. Baurenfeind had been searching for someone to assist with the organization’s rebranding efforts.

“I always say I wish I had that first call with George recorded, because I had no idea what pickleball was,” says Gainor. “I was royally confused when he was talking about the sport, but I was committed to jump in and figure it out.”

Intrigued, Gainor asked three of her friends to sign up to learn how to play pickleball at the local community center, which was hosting free clinics to teach people how to play the sport.

“Like everyone else who plays for the first time, we were hooked,” she said. “We were laughing so much and having so much fun that by the end of the night, we officially knew how to play pickleball.”

While living in Chicago, Gainor used her professional event-organizing skills to start the Chicago Pickleball Club, which met at a local gym on Friday nights. As an entrepreneur, Gainor quickly realized the potential both for the sport and for her budding agency.

“While the sport of pickleball is continuing to grow at an immense rate, there are not many marketing agencies that focus solely on the promotion of the sport, its player, and its brands,” she said. “With the need for pickleball marketing growing just as fast as the sport itself, I knew that there would be a need for agencies like Vossberg Gainor to help pickleball players and brands to distinguish themselves throughout the pickleball community.”

“We were playing pickleball weekly, but that came to an abrupt halt when indoor events were shut down,” she said. “It was devastating.”

However, in the summer of 2020, another opportunity presented itself—this time, for her family of four to relocate to one of the country’s pickleball hot spots: Florida.

“In June of 2020, after the four of us were about to hit our breaking points of being inside and forbidden to do what we loved most, we went down to Florida to visit my sister and family, who had just moved to the Nocatee community, which had 12 brand new pickleball courts and multiple waterparks for the kids,” she said.

Shortly after the visit, the Gainors made the decision to sell their home in Chicago and move to Florida to live near family. The move also allowed pickleball to become a lifestyle. Following the move, on the one-year anniversary of her business, Gainor decided to pivot her agency to become the first-ever pickleball marketing agency. The agency’s goal, she says, is to help pickleball brands, organizations, and players successfully market themselves throughout the worldwide pickleball community.

This past year, inspired by her love of travel, lifestyle, and leisure, she launched her passion project, “Pickleball in the Sun,” a website that promotes the “luxurious side of pickleball,” including exclusive destinations around the world that pickleball players can visit to play the sport. The website also partners with a variety of brands that are helping to grow the sport, such as paddles, eyewear, social clubs, activewear, and more.

“Together, this brand is focused on defining pickleball as a destination travel-worthy game, while simultaneously sharing deluxe brands and lifestyle opportunities the sport offers along the way,” she said.

As pickleball continues to grow along with her marketing agency and website, Gainor hopes that more people will find a passion for the game and discover the lifestyle that accompanies it.

“I’m excited to see more pickleball enthusiasts build more courts so that more people can have the chance to play the game,” she said. “We have a lot of exciting opportunities in the works that will bring this game from 5 million players to 10 million players faster than you think. I look forward to looking back 10 years from now and remembering these ‘early’ days, when pickleball was the hottest topic in the nation!”

Two National Media Hits, One Week: Vossberg Gainor coordinates pickleball promotional segments for NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America

Two National Media Hits, One Week: Vossberg Gainor coordinates pickleball promotional segments for NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America

While the effort that goes into growing the sport of pickleball has numerous highs and lows, seeing the hard work and dedication of coordinating efforts with national media outlets to drive more awareness for the game, has always been one of the strongest driving forces in why I love what I get to do each and every day. The Summer of 2022 has been a tremendous high for my pickleball marketing agency, Vossberg Gainor, and my pickleball passion brand; PickleballintheSun.com! I feel so fortunate to be in the position to be able to share my love for the sport of pickleball and to be a driving force in getting as many people as possible across America to also pick up a pickleball paddle and experience the lifestyle it brings.

Over the last nearly 3 years since having USA Pickleball as a client, it has been thrilling to see so much exposure for the growth of the sport, getting the opportunity to work with talented entrepreneurs, and seeing those efforts highlighted on national television.

On Saturday, June 18th Lester Holt’s producer reached out to USA Pickleball as they were working on a pickleball segment that focuses on kids telling other kids how to play the game to be a part of their show, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids Edition

I jumped at the opportunity, and in less than 24-hours time, we had arranged for their film crew to come to Nocatee, my home community in Ponte Vedra, Florida, and sent messages out to rally together more than 30 local kids to join us to film that coming Monday afternoon and have the chance to learn how to play with local USA Pickleabll Ambassador, Mike Guyot, and certified youth pickleball instructor, Ivan Ramirez. 

The kids ranged from age 4-23 with varying levels of experience playing the game. With their true reactions of either playing the game for the first time or having fun playing multiple games with their friends, the pickleball showcase was a smashing success highlighting the game as a social, yet active sport of the summer. My passion project, Pickleball in the Sun, had the opportunity to represent the sport with USA Pickleball by showcasing the community environment that pickleball brings throughout all 50 States, while outfitted with Pickleball in the Sun gear and sporting their USA Pickleball paddles.

In addition, professional pickleball photographer, Bruce Yeung‘s kids spent 5 minutes easily explaining the game to other youth as to why they love the game, who can beat their dad in a game, and how to get started as a young player.

The day after filming for NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America contacted us and once again, I sent out a message to our loyal Nocatee pickleball community and this time asked for any and all to join us to film a segment for GMA at our local pickleball courts, and within minutes we had more than 30 players set to meet us at the courts just two hours later to play pickleball and do on-camera interviews. The goal with this segment was to teach players how to play the game, as well as discuss the community engagement aspect of the game as well. 

For the live filming, I worked with the GMA producer to coordinate for the crew to film at the Brooklyn Bridge Park courts, thanks to Sarah Krauss, as their beautiful new courts with views of the New York City skyline had just opened.

Once aired on June 29th, the segment was filmed live in New York City at the Brooklyn Bridge Park with GMA correspondents Eva Pilgrim and Will Ganss as they learned how to play the game with USA Pickleball Ambassadors, Paul Curiale and Amote Sias. Paul and Amote rallied local Brooklyn players to join them for the on-air play time and lesson.

The full segment featured clips from other pickleball enthusiasts, including Nocatee interviews with my son Garrett and Barry Sams. 

We were also fortunate to have pickleball player and social media correspondent, Tara Bernstein, volunteer her time and talents to be a part of the live filming in New York City and share a behind-the-scenes look at Eva and Will’s reactions to learning how to play pickleball for the first time.
As  I continue to build my career and utilize my expertise in media relations and experiential pickleball marketing, I am so excited to have opportunities such as NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America to continue to shape my career. Thank you, always, to those at USA Pickleball for their continued support over the years. And thank you to our Nocatee community for being at the ready and providing the courts for these incredible features. These two media hits have been two spectacular highs for my businesses and I, and I am thrilled to see what the future holds in the coming months and years for Vossberg Gainor and Pickleball in the Sun.

Special thanks to Maris Kirs Photography for joining us for both filming days to capture behind-the-scenes photos of our Nocatee pickleball players!

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS WITH LESTER HOLT: KIDS EDITION

Behind-the-scenes photos by Maris Kirs Photography from the June 20th filming for NBC Nightly News in Nocatee, Florida.

GOOD MORNING AMERICA

Behind-the-scenes photos by Maris Kirs Photography from the June 21st filming for Good Morning America in Nocatee, Florida.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids Edition features USA Pickleball & Pickleball in the Sun

Pickleball in the Sun collaborates with NBC Nightly News: Kids Edition to teach Florida youth how to play the great sport of Pickleball.

Unsurprisingly, the sport of Pickleball has continued to gain traction throughout the United States, this week most notably with a primetime feature on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids Edition! Pickleball in the Sun had the opportunity to represent the sport with USA Pickleball on national television by showcasing the active yet social environment that pickleball brings to communities throughout the country.

NBC Nightly News: Kids Edition is a segment on NBC igest of the top headlines, broken down for kids to best understand the world today. The topics range from cooking, weather, travel, sports, lifestyle, and more. 

In just two-days time, Pickleball in the Sun helped coordinate a video shoot for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids Edition. The segment shines a light on youth pickleball and the benefits of kids learning how to play the game!  

More than 30 kids from the Nocatee community in Ponte Vedra, Florida jumped at the chance to learn how to play pickleball and be featured on NBC. The kids ranged from age 4-23 with varying levels of experience playing the game. With their true reactions of either playing the game for the first time or having fun playing multiple games with their friends, the pickleball showcase was a smashing success. 

USA Pickleball ambassador, Mike Guyot, and Nocatee’s certified youth pickleball instructor, Ivan Ramirez, both attended the shoot to teach kids how to play the game. Each adolescent that attended had the opportunity to learn the sport, practice shots with their friends and family, and experience first-hand what it is like to be a part of a television segment. 

When asked what they love about Pickleball in the Sun, the kids answered that, “Is the fact that it’s a family-oriented sport and we look forward to more kids across America learning how to play Pickleball.”

Tune in to NBC on Saturday, June 25th at 12pm EST (check your local listing) to watch USA Pickleball and Pickleball in the Sun, and other youth around the country,  tell kids how to play pickleball! Follow @NightlyKids and if you’re watching, share your photos on social media and tag Pickleball in the Sun at @pickleballinthesun

Photos: Maris Kirs Photography

Real Dill® Pickleball Clubs Announce Two Locations in Development, with more on the Way

Real Dill® Pickleball Clubs Announce Two Locations in Development, with more on the Way

Pickleball just got hotter! Congratulations to Vossberg Gainor’s client, Real Dill® Pickleball Clubs who have officially announced their brand with two locations currently in development and more to come.

Read the full press release below and visit PlayRealDill.com to learn more about their clubs. Follow @PlayRealDill on Facebook and Instagram.

For The Real Dill® Pickleball Clubs’ logo files, images, and FAQs, please find the PRESS KIT on Dropbox.

Aimwell Development Co. Announces Launch of The Real Dill Pickleball Club

A premiere pickleball sports entertainment venue and restaurant to open in summer 2023

CHICAGO, April 28th, 2022 – Today, The Real Dill Pickleball Club, a sports entertainment venue that will offer dedicated courts for playing the sport of pickleball, announced the launch of its first two locations. The Real Dill will launch its first facilities in St. Louis, Missouri, and Columbus, Ohio, in the summer of 2023. Founded by Aimwell Development Co., a real estate development firm based in Chicago, Real Dill Pickleball Clubs are supported by the investment of pickleball enthusiasts and are targeting five development properties in the United States this year, with the goal of becoming the premiere facility to help grow the sport.

“We couldn’t be more excited to help facilitate the growth of pickleball by building inclusive clubs that encourage real social connectivity,” said Todd Reed, Managing Partner of Aimwell Development Co. “The Real Dill is a hospitable environment where the pickleball community can grow their network of players and drive their competitive and social spirit.”

Each Real Dill venue will have 8 to 12 pickleball courts available on a reservation-basis and will be designed to accommodate both the avid pickleball player who engages in competitive play, as well as the recreational player who plays mainly for the purpose of entertainment. 

Aimwell Development Co. leadership brings more than 22 years of experience in developing hospitality and hotel concepts around the United States. Patrons of the Real Dill will enjoy the following amenities: 

  • Social and competitive leagues, tournaments, and events
  • Top quality food and beverage offerings that compliment club type setting
  • A hospitality focused customer service model
  • Outdoor space for socialization and game play
  •  Family entertainment center with games for all ages
  • Opportunities for pickleball lessons and private instruction
  • Health & wellness offerings and group classes for physical conditioning

The Real Dill in St. Louis will open in the summer of 2023 at The District,  a one-of-a-kind entertainment destination with live music, family friendly attractions, food, and retail offerings. Alongside other premium attractions such as The Factory and Main Event, The Real Dill will operate as a local favorite and core tenant of The District. .

The Columbus location will be built in the first phase of construction for The Galaxy at Polaris.  The original Polaris Center includes over 9 million square feet of retail, hospitality, office, and multifamily properties.  The Real Dill is slated to open at Polaris in the summer of 2023.  The Real Dill was represented on both properties by Cary Taylor of Crossroads Real Estate Group.

“We are hospitality people, and we have spent our careers creating environments in which people feel both welcomed and energized,” Reed explained. “The Real Dill is a place where groups may enjoy professional customer service and a food & beverage offering suited to compliment an active mindset.  Our focus is on keeping things simple and doing them exceptionally well.”

To learn more about The Real Dill Pickleball Club, visit PlayRealDill.com.

Follow @PlayRealDill on Facebook and Instagram.

ABOUT AIMWELL DEVELOPMENT

Aimwell Development, founded in 2019 is a boutique firm with the company leaders bringing more than 22-years’ experience, focused on real estate development and investments in the hospitality, residential, and retail sectors. First developing concepts with a blend of innovative thinking and thorough analysis, then having a thorough understanding of the key factors that affect success, Aimwell Development is able to identify unique opportunities and mold them into viable projects.

Their experience developing projects that are both highly unique and sustainable guides the decision making throughout the process. As a result, work stands out as being distinctly suited to its environment and integral to the growth of the surrounding community. For more information about Aimwell Development Co., visit PlayRealDill.com. 

ABOUT THE REAL DILL PICKLEBALL CLUBS

The Real Dill Pickleball Clubs are facilities designed to provide a welcoming, social, and active environment for the recreational and competitive pickleball players., Each venue will feature up to 12 courts for reserved play, competitive tournaments, ladders, professional coaching and lessons, as well as an inviting space for spectators to enjoy the game. Every location will feature an on-site restaurant and bar with a menu conceived to compliment the active nature of playing pickleball. Each entertainment venue is designed with multigenerational entertainment in mind and organized so that families are offered something for every age and interest including video games, wiffle ball, ping pong, shuffleboard, and much more. 

For more information visit PlayRealDill.com and follow @PlayRealDill on Facebook and Instagram.

Contact

Laura Gainor
laura@VossbergGainor.com

704-941-4191

Welcome to the Vossberg Gainor Team, Emma!

Welcome to the Vossberg Gainor Team, Emma!

Vossberg Gainor is excited to announce Emma Masur has joined the team as the Digital Marketing Manager! 

When Vossberg Gainor launched in 2019, pickleball was an unkown word. Just a few weeks after launching, Laura Vossberg Gainor was introduced to USA Pickleball as her first client, and since then, we’ve been fortunate to be a part of the journey of pickleball becoming the fastest growing sport in the nation, having more than 4.8 million players. 

As the sport has grown by 39.3% over the last two years, so have the opportunities for brands to market themselves to the diverse audience of avid pickleball players, so thankfully, Emma Masur was one of those players. 

“Getting introduced to the sport of pickleball has been a life changer for me as it is not only my business focus, it’s also a huge passion of mine to start each day getting to play as much as I can because of the positive mentality this game brings,” said Laura Vossberg Gainor. “As I was thinking it was time to find someone to join my team that had the skillset of understanding how to speak the language of the game, a trust-worthy up-and-comer that would want to be a part of the sport’s momentum, and a talented digital designer to help my clients and build “Pickleball in the Sun” off of the ground, Emma emailed me that day pitching her talents to want to work in pickleball marketing.” 

Vossberg Gainor is excited to have Emma a part of the team to help with our growing client-base and bring the vision of PickleballintheSun.com to life. What we all love most about pickleball is the people we meet on the courts, the chance to pack our paddles in our suitcases to travel the country to play pickleball at top destinations, the stories and memories along the way, and Emma is going to help share those stories through our clients and with our Pickleball in the Sun partners. 

ABOUT EMMA: 

  • Emma Masur is a freelance digital marketing manager and creative designer from Cincinnati, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate degree at Translyvania University in 2020, graduating with a degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication and Digital Arts and Media. Upon finishing undergrad, Emma moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she has been pursuing her Master of Arts in Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media at Nova Southeastern University.
  • Emma is excited to be graduating this spring and diving into the world of digital media, sports marketing, and all things pickleball!
  • Outside of her design work, Emma loves coffee shops, breweries, running, hiking, and paddle boarding.
  • As she gets older, her hope is to continue to spend her free time on the pickleball court and traveling the world simultaneously. 

WHY SHE LOVES PICKLEBALL: 

  • Emma started playing pickleball during the summer of 2018 and once she started playing, she was immediately addicted. She loves the exercise that comes with the sport, while being able to enjoy the outdoors and socialize with others who are enthusiastic about the sport as well.
  • Having the opportunity to work with Vossberg Gainor and brands like USA Pickleball and Pickleball in the Sun, brings together the best of both worlds for her; being able to hone her digital media skills while being active and enjoying the sport of pickleball is a dream come true! 

WHERE SHE WANTS TO TRAVEL TO PLAY PICKLEBALL: 

  • Emma would one day love to travel to Europe and play pickleball. While Emma has spent some time in the EU in the past, she would love to explore other European countries such as France or Portugal while playing the fastest growing sport in the nation! 

WHICH CELEBRITIES SHE WOULD LOVE TO PLAY PICKLEBALL WITH: 

  • Emma would love to play pickleball with pro soccer athletes such as Alex Morgan or Rose Lavelle from the US Women’s National Team.

Marketing Brew: Pickleball brands and organizations are using modern marketing moves to expand the sport beyond boomers

Marketing Brew: Pickleball brands and organizations are using modern marketing moves to expand the sport beyond boomers

Laura Vossberg Gainor was recently interviewed by Alyssa Meyers for the Marketing Brew to share a behind-the-scenes look at what went into working with USA Pickleball and Milwaukee-based ad agency, Boelter + Lincoln on the 2020 brand refresh.

Vossberg Gainor continues to feel fortunate to have been introduced to USA Pickleball and the organization’s CMO at the time, George Bauernfeind, to become her first client since launching the agency. The sport of pickleball is growing at an exponential rate and the opportunities that have come along with it are incredible.

For the full Marketing Brew feature, visiting MorningBrew.com.