King James and Maverick Carter lead the latest ownership group set to make an impact at the professional level as part of the worldwide wave of pickleball fervor.
If you didn’t already know, it’s only a matter of time — the hype around the sport of pickleball is real and officially blasting off into a new stratosphere. The latest big name to join the craze? LeBron James.
The four-time MVP and four-time NBA champion and his business partner, Maverick Carter, are headlining a new ownership group within Major League Pickleball.
“When I started playing pickleball, I immediately connected with the sport’s community and its capacity to be both fun and competitive,” Carter told CNBC. “To see the sport growing in communities all over is really exciting, and we’re looking forward to bringing our expertise together to try and build a championship team.”
Financial terms have not been disclosed, but we can assume it’s more than enough to catalyze further growth and wider recognition of the fledgling sport.
USA Pickleball announced in February of 2022 that there are more than 4.8 million participants in the sport nationwide bolstered by a growth rate of 39.3% over the past two years. It’s the fastest-growing sport in the Americas for a second straight year, as noted by the the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Thanks to additional funding, Major League Pickleball is expanding expanding from 12 to 16 teams, and will play six cities for more than $6 million during the 2023 season.
LRMR’s team name and location haven’t been determined. After all, teams are not tied to particular locations as of this time.
MLP strategic advisor Anne Worcester explained how the league is working with owners to determine how they can change that: This past summer, the league announced a round of investment led by such big names as Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, retired tennis star James Blake, and Ryan Serhant of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing.
So, amid all this ever-expanding Pickleball hype, it’s worth asking: Who’s joining the craze next?
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