Have you ever thought about playing pickleball inside a shopping mall? You will soon be able to at Arizona Mills in Tempe.
The mall is set to open a new indoor facility in the summer of 2023, the concept speaks to the growing popularity of pickleball in the Valley.
During the last three years, pickleball has become America's fastest-growing sport.
Fred Bender says he now likes it more than tennis which he used to play in college.
"I don't know why people play tennis because when they go out, all they do is chase the ball when you first start playing, said Fred. With pickleball, if you've ever played pin pong, you can play pickleball within an hour or so."
ABC15 caught up with Fred Bender, his son, and some friends at Pecos Park in Phoenix on Tuesday.
"It started with us old folks. The young ones then asked, what do old folks have that we young folks don't have and now they're playing, said Fred.
Benders son, Bret, says he hits a pickleball court every chance he gets.
"I think it is such a fun sport, especially, if you are trying to incorporate all sorts of skill levels. It is the best, said Bret.
The popular sport will be available to play in a whole new way thanks to a company called "Picklemall".
Arizona Mills will replace home decor with pickleball courts by installing a 24-court facility inside the former 'At-Home' store location.
Alexa Erjavic says she'll be interested in escaping the heat and visiting the 104,000-square-foot facility which opens in July.
"It will enable us to play six more months out of the year when it would normally be too hot. It is 109 degrees out here now and here we are, said Erjavic.
Between August 2022 and March 2023, the American Pickleball Association says, the amount of people playing this sport has grown by 35%.
Bret told ABC15 he isn't surprised to know the sport is growing rapidly in the Valley.
"It's just really accessible. Super-accessible. I think all of those other sports we are used to are just so time-consuming to get the learning curve to get better to even enjoy a game, added Bret.
Picklemall plans to open other facilities inside malls across the country in the months to come.