The Merger of Major League Pickleball and the Professional Pickleball Association

The Merger of Major League Pickleball and the Professional Pickleball Association

The recent merger between Major League Pickleball (MLP) and the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) has been a highly anticipated event within the pickleball community. This consolidation will bring together the two largest pickleball organizations into a single holding company, while still maintaining their individual brands and formats.

The merger agreement has been finalized and the leagues have announced new capital being infused into the sport. The newly formed holding company will bring together a total of 150 professional pickleball players from both organizations. The agreement includes a $75 million investment from a group that includes private equity firm SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, PPA Tour owners Tom Dundon and the Pardoe Family, as well as existing MLP team owners.

As part of the merger, players have signed new multiyear contracts and are set to participate in an expanded calendar that combines PPA Tour and MLP events. The combined organization is expected to increase payouts nearly 250% compared to last year. However, there have been concerns raised by some players who have not yet been paid for past tournaments, casting doubts on the financial stability of the new organization.

The merger process has not been without its challenges, as there was initially drama, hostility, and negotiations between the two competing leagues. The agreement, which was first announced in September 2023, was stalled after a falling out between the organizations. This led to a competitive arms race for players and a significant shake-up within MLP, with its founder resigning and key personnel departing.

Despite the initial challenges, the merger of MLP and the PPA Tour is seen as a positive development for the professional sport of pickleball. The combined organization aims to create a sustainable and viable ecosystem for players, fans, and sponsors. The unified organization will provide a streamlined schedule of events, which will benefit all key stakeholders, including sponsors, broadcast partners, venue operators, and equipment manufacturers.

The merger of Major League Pickleball and the Professional Pickleball Association marks a significant milestone in the sport’s history. While there have been challenges along the way, the new organization has the potential to elevate professional pickleball to new heights and provide a more stable and lucrative platform for players and stakeholders alike.

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