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Competing Pro Pickleball Tours “Agree to Merge”

News Stacie Townsend 09-18-2023

As quickly as the tentative merger between two major entities in professional pickleball—the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) and Major League Pickleball (MLP)—fell apart, is as quickly as the two entities have come back together. In just a few weeks since the massive news of a fractured deal, MLP and the PPA Tour have announced an “agreement to merge” under a pickleball holding company that will have an infusion of a substantial $50 million investment from SC Holdings, Al Tylis (D.C. Pickleball Team owner) and other existing MLP team owners, and Tom Dundon (PPA owner).

The PPA Tour focuses on individual player achievements and rankings, while MLP has attracted notable athlete and celebrity team investors. While the two brands will retain these distinct identities, the primary goal of this merger is to eliminate scheduling conflicts and player competition between the two entities. Further, the consolidation aims to provide fans, players, and sponsors with a unified approach to professional pickleball. The new combined organization will support and promote both formats, offering players and sponsors increased confidence and opportunities in the world of professional pickleball.

With that said, the announcement was an “agreement to merge,” rather than a completed merger. As a result, the devil will continue to be in the details until the agreement is “signed on the dotted line.” The announcement is also riddled with unanswered questions, as the announcement did not address further details or effects on stakeholders (such as pro players with ballooned salaries, scheduling, ability to play other events, effects on the 2023 year, and so on). This series of events will continue to be one to watch—particularly, as the next MLP event is just days away (September 20-24, 2023) outside of Atlanta, Georgia, where some of these questions could start to be addressed.

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