Orlando Entrepreneur Converts Nightclub Into Pickleball Epicenter

Orlando Entrepreneur Converts Nightclub Into Pickleball Epicenter

Situated at 4141 John Young Pkwy. in Orlando, ClearOne Sports Centre isn’t merely a pickleball facility – it symbolizes a noteworthy success narrative in Central Florida. The journey commenced when a nightclub proprietor opted to exchange pulsating beats for pickleball action.

For an impressive 38 years, John Gardner curated the iconic downtown Orlando dance venue, Barbarella, renowned for its 80s/new wave ambiance. Yet, in 2021, the pandemic orchestrated a silent interlude in the once vibrant musical narrative.

Pickleball Answers The Call

Confronted with the looming closure of Barbarella, Gardner, averse to retirement, sought a new endeavor for an active lifestyle. Pickleball, America’s fastest-growing sport, became his chosen pursuit. Gardner fine-tuned his skills at ClearOne Sports Centre, the very establishment that would morph into his newfound passion project.

Upon learning the facility was available for purchase, Gardner swiftly seized the opportunity. “I only played 30 times before I found it was for sale and decided this is for me, and I’m going to buy the place, and that was two years ago,” Gardner disclosed.

Upon acquisition in 2022, the facility grappled with the lingering effects of the pandemic. While Gardner’s initial investment didn’t yield instant results, two years later, the statistics portray a different narrative. Revenues witnessed an impressive 80% surge, and daily attendance escalated from 120 to a noteworthy 200.


Substantial Enhancements

ClearOne Sports Centre underwent substantial enhancements, encompassing revamped plumbing, an upgraded air conditioning system, and the incorporation of two permanent courts, amplifying the total to 13

Looking ahead, Gardner is unwavering in his commitment to the facility’s enduring prosperity. “I’m here to stay. I’m not going anywhere. I’m having the time of my life,” he affirmed.

For those yearning for nightclub nostalgia, Gardner hasn’t severed ties with his roots completely. Each Saturday night, ClearOne hosts an 80s/new wave dance party, paying homage to Gardner’s downtown Orlando legacy.

ClearOne Sports Centre

ClearOne Sports Centre stands as a testament to entrepreneurial resilience and an unforeseen odyssey that saw a nightclub proprietor repurpose a muted dancefloor into a bustling pickleball sanctuary. Venture to ClearOne Sports Centre at 4141 John Young Pkwy. for open play, ladder leagues, tournaments, lessons, and more – a testament to the thriving pickleball scene in Orlando.

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