Major League Pickleball (MLP) and the Professional Pickleball Association’s (PPA) Vibe Pickleball League have agreed a strategic merger to unify the sport.
The two parties said the move would result in a ‘global, co-ed, team-based league featuring the greatest players, biggest events, and visionary owners’.
This league will continue to live under the MLP brand name and format.
‘Coming together as one team league allows us to build much bigger events, offer more prize money, enhance player development, pursue larger media and sponsorship deals and, most importantly, grow the game we all love,’ said a statement from MLP founder Steve Kuhn and PPA co-founder Tom Dundon.
‘Today marks a real milestone in the evolution of pickleball. In a world desperate for more social connection and reasons to celebrate, we are so excited for this merger and what it means for our community and our beautiful sport.’
Both new leagues have received significant investment recently. The likes of brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, as well as sports stars LeBron James and Tom Brady, have all bought MLP teams. Last week saw Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban unveiled as the first team owner in the Vibe Pickleball League.
There had been speculation that the two leagues could clash, given the PPA was initially not allowing its players to compete in MLP, but the merger will have allayed those fears.
The move also prevents a scenario similar to what has happened in padel, another emerging sport, which has seen the World Padel Tour (WPT) and newly-formed Premier Padel lock horns.