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Major League Pickleball merges with PPA’s VIBE League


In this week’s pickleball news, two rival pickleball leagues with some well-known names financing them have joined forces. Yes, Major League Pickleball and the Professional Pickleball Association’s new VIBE Pickleball League have agreed to merge, indicating there’s only room for one pickle in the sporting goods jar.

The combined league will reportedly continue to operate under the Major League Pickleball brand name and format.

“We have agreed to a strategic merger to unify the sport of pickleball as a global, co-ed, team-based league featuring the greatest players, biggest events and visionary owners,” MLP founder Steve Kuhn and PPA co-founder Tom Dundon said in a joint statement.

“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,” the statement added.

Dundon, a private equity investor who owns the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, purchased the PPA and Pickleball Central in January.

PPA and MLP have operated independently, under different formats: PPA was focused on an individual format, while MLP featured co-ed teams. Last week, the PPA announced the creation of the VIBE Pickleball League with Mark Cuban as its first team owner. VIBE said it would be team focused and co-ed, similar to what Major League Pickleball has been doing.

The PPA features top players such as Ben Johns, Tyson McGuffin and Anna Leigh Waters. Its individual-competition operations will continue.

MLP has surprised the sporting world by bringing on dozens of high-profile investors, including LeBron JamesKevin DurantTom Brady and Drew Brees, and recently announced Anheuser-Busch as the first Fortune 500 company to purchase an MLP team.

“We are just getting started,” the leagues said in their joint statement. “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.”

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Nov 17, 2022


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