The new super league will unite each league’s teams to keep up with the rapid growth the sport of pickleball has seen throughout 2022.
On Wednesday, VIBE Pickleball officially joined forces with Major League Pickleball, the latest big-time move for a rapid-growing league backed by big-name owners.
VIBE Pickleball and MLP each confirmed the partnership with Boardroom.
“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,” MLP’s founder Steve Kuhn and VIBE PPA owner Tom Dundon said in a joint statement.
Pickleball is booming, and now the respective leagues are joining forces to build a powerhouse. The MLP, which currently has 16 teams, will bring aboard six VIBE teams under the Major League Pickleball umbrella. VIBE brings along some of the world’s top players, namely JW Johnson, Anna Leigh Waters, and Ben Johns.
The merging forces should only accelerate growth within the sport, and Major League Pickleball as the go-to league in the space.
“Pickleball is the fastest-growing and most popular participatory sport in America – and soon the world,” they said in the statement. “MLP and the PPA have independently fostered this growth by supporting world-class players, driving powerful marketing, and creating unbelievable live experiences. 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.”
Jared Paul, Head of The Kitchen, explained how the merger unites the best players and respective leagues to build a world-class pickleball league.
“What makes me so excited about the merger is that we’ll finally get to see all of the best pickleball players in the world face off against each other in this incredible team format,” Paul told Boardroom. “We’ll get to see unconventional pairings, new rivalries formed, and the highest-level pickleball we’ve ever seen, competing for the biggest payouts. Pickleball is finally united and it’s going to be fun!”
Most recently, 35V’s co-owners Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman announced the purchase of a Major League Pickleball expansion team with first-class coverage via Boardroom. As pickleball continues to grow rapidly as a sport, Durant and Kleiman’s 35V joins a prominent list of owners within Major League Pickleball.
“Our league is starting with the best professional players in the world and a group of iconic leaders from sports and business including LeBron James, Tom Brady, Kevin Durant, and Kim Clijsters. Just yesterday we announced Anheuser-Busch is our newest team owner – and we are just getting started,” the joint statement read.
Prior to this news, the MLP had intentions to expand from 12 to 16 teams. The league is also doubling events from last season from three to six, and increasing the player prize money pool to upwards of $2 million. Pickleball currently boasts approximately 4.8 million players nationwide, and the MLP’s mission is to grow that number to 40 million by 2030.
- The In-Season Tournament: What to Know About the NBA’s Sin City Spectacle
- NBA Threads: A Guide to the Thriving Hardwood Community
- The Numbers Behind Jim Valvano’s Lasting Legacy
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Cannabis Quality
- ‘All the Smoke’ Rises: The Business Behind the Media Machine