Major League Pickleball and PPA merger underway again

Lacy Schneemann of the Florida Smash returns a shot during a Major League Pickleball group game against BLQK at Pickle & Chill in Columbus, Ohio, October 15, 2022.

Emilee Chinn | Getty Images

After weeks of drama in professional pickleball, the PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball have once again agreed to merge, the leagues announced Wednesday.

The merger is supported by a $50 million investment led by private equity firm SC Holdings, PPA Tour owner Tom Dundon and various MLP owners.

“As professional pickleball continues to grow rapidly, we couldn’t be more excited to provide both players and fans the clarity and consistency of a unified professional pickleball organization,” MLP founder Steve Kuhn said in a statement.

The merger agreement was first announced in November. But in recent weeks there have been heated arguments between MLP and PPA after the agreed merger terms were still not finalized.

The two competing leagues hunt down the world’s best players in a spending war and sign them to contracts to play in their respective leagues.

“This merger will expand and enhance opportunities for current and future players, creating a shared experience and a brighter future in professional pickleball,” Kuhn said.

The sport of pickleball has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years at both the amateur and professional levels. In 2022, more than 36 million people played pickleball as playgrounds pop up across the country. At the professional level, MLP team values ​​have skyrocketed, with some teams spending $10 million.

Dundon said the new holding company would help streamline the sport on issues from competition to broadcast rights and sponsorship.

The PPA Tour is a bracket-style tour format, while the MLP is a co-ed, team-based league. MLP owners include many high-profile athletes from LeBron James and Kevin Durant to Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.

As part of the merger, the organizations said fans will be able to watch both formats of individual and team games under one roof. The combined leagues will feature 150 of the world’s leading players.

“In recent years, we have seen increasing interest from investors, sponsors, fans and players who recognize the immense value of professional pickleball for the future,” Dundon said. Major League Pickleball and PPA merger underway again

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