MLP by Margaritaville unveiled the owners, cities, and team names for its Challenger Level, bringing the league total to 24 teams.
The Major League Pickleball ownership club just got a lot bigger. On Tuesday, MLP by Margaritaville announced a slew of new owners ahead of the upcoming season, and the names span every industry from sports to fashion, business to entertainment.
“The diversity in the backgrounds and expertise of our fantastic new owners is an incredible asset as we aggressively expand Major League Pickleball to reach more fans than ever,” MLP by Margaritaville Interim CEO Brian Levine said in a statement. “We always say pickleball brings people together, and this roster of leaders from across a wide variety of industries is a strong testament to that philosophy.”
Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the country, and 2022 has been a banner year for the pastime. In the last few months alone, Tom Brady and 35V co-founders Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman have attached their names to a pickleball team, so the addition of new partners only makes the 2023 campaign all the more interesting.
The league revealed the full list of participating teams and their affiliated cities for its Challenger Level on Tuesday, including 35V’s Brooklyn Aces.
Unveiling the League Structure
When the MLP by Margaritaville season kicks off on Jan. 26, the league will be divided into two levels, Challenger and Premier. At the mid-season they will switch, vying for pole position in 2024. The top performing 12 teams will make up the Premier division in 2024, while the remaining 12 will head to the Challenger division. This model presents the first-ever use of a promotion and relegation system in the history of U.S. Sports.
The season schedule is as follows.
- Jan. 26-29 – Mesa, AZ – Legacy Sports USA
- March 23-26 – Daytona Beach, FL – Pictona at Holly Hill
- June 15-18 – San Clemente, CA – Life Time Rancho San Clemente
- Season One Championship: June 19
- Sept. 21-24 – Atlanta, GA – Life Time Peachtree Corners
- Nov. 2-5 – La Quinta, CA – La Quinta Resort & Club
- Dec. 7-10 – San Clemente, CA – Life Time Rancho San Clemente
- Season Two Championship: December 11
Introducing the Challenger Level
The MLP Challenger Level draft occurred on Monday, as full rosters, team names, and locations were also revealed.
The D.C. Pickleball Team selected recently retired men’s tennis pro Sam Querrey with the first pick in the draft. Querrey won 10 titles throughout his ATP career, rising to a peak ranking of No. 11 in 2018.
The full Challenger Level team names and owners are as follows:
|Team Name||Team Owner|
|AZ Drive||Larry Fitzgerald|
Richard J. Schnall
|Bay Area Breakers||Jeremy Lin|
|Brooklyn Aces||Kevin Durant and Rich|
|Chicago Slice||Ron Saslow’s 35 Capital|
|Columbus Pickleball Club||David Kass|
|Dallas Pickleball Club||Mark Cuban|
|D.C. Pickleball Team||Al Tylis|
|Miami Pickleball Club||Naomi Osaka|
Mardy Fish and Alex Davis at
Disruptive Sports Group
Alex Cohen at Heights
The Palm Tree Crew
|Texas Ranchers||Tim Klitch|
|Utah Black Diamonds||The Pardoe Family|
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