Major League Pickleball (MLP) and the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour have agreed to merge, creating a unified professional pickleball holding company.
- Merger backed by US$50 million investment from SC Holdings, DC Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis
- PPA Tour owner Tom Dundon, and other existing MLP team owners, are also invested
- Combines the individual and team-based professional pickleball formats into a single parent company, providing equal support and promotion to both MLP and the PPA Tour
- Streamlined schedule and single entity overseeing the two brands aims to benefit players, fans and sponsors
The PPA Tour is the traditional, bracket-style tour format that determines the best pickleball players in the world, while MLP consists of a team-based, co-ed league format.
The decision to join forces follows the news last November that MLP and the PPA had begun the process for a strategic merger to unify the fast-growing sport.
The move also ended fears that the two organisations would clash, given the PPA had initially not allowed its players to compete in MLP. High-profile owners in the respective competitions include LeBron James, Tom Brady and Mark Cuban, as well as brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev.
“As professional pickleball continues to rapidly grow, we could not be more excited to provide both players and fans with the clarity and consistency of a unified professional pickleball organisation,” said MLP founder Steve Kuhn.
“This merger will expand and improve opportunities for current and future players, creating a united experience and a better future playing professional pickleball.”
PPA Tour owner Tom Dundon added: “Over the past few years, we have seen ever-increasing interest from investors, sponsors, fans and players who understand the immense value in the future of professional pickleball.
“The holding company unifying the PPA Tour and MLP will create a streamlined sport for fans and add more meaningful opportunities for player competition, broadcasting rights and sponsorship throughout the professional pickleball calendar.”
Fans will now be able to watch both pickleball formats and the sport’s top athletes competing under one umbrella, with the new unified organisation boasting more than 150 players and a broad calendar of team and individual events throughout the year.