PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball Announce They’ve (Finally) Merged

The PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball have announced their merger is complete. Here's what we know so far.

PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball Announce They’ve (Finally) Merged

The landscape of pro pickleball has changed dramatically over the last few years. Most recently, it was war-torn as Major League Pickleball (MLP) and the PPA Tour jockeyed for dominance in the pro scene. But an agreement has been struck that could bring order to (and inject some much-needed cash into) the sport.

The two former competitors have announced they’ve closed the deal on their merger, consolidating themselves into a unified pro pickleball holding company.

The deal is backed by $75 million in investments from private equity firm SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, PPA Tour owners Tom Dundon and the Pardoe Family, and some existing MLP team owners, according to a joint press release.


Wait, why does this matter?

Regardless of your interest in watching pro pickleball, this deal matters for a few reasons:

  • It brings a significant amount of money to the pro scene, which serves as a platform for some of the most talented players in the world
  • The more money and unification in the pro scene, the more large-scale exposure pickleball as a sport can afford to invest in
  • The merger combines two formats of play – geographically-defined teams (think NFL, NBA, etc.) & individual (like PGA) – under one umbrella
  • The investment and harmony brought by a merger should make it more accessible and easier to tune in to different types of high-level matches 

Players no longer have to take sides

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the PPAxMLP merger closing is that over 150 professional pickleball athletes no longer feel pressured to pick a side or sign their life away in some exclusive contract.

According to the release, the players have now signed multi-year contracts with the new conjoined entity, with many agreeing to play within an expanded slate of events that will combine individual, PPA-style matches with team-based MLP matches. 


The players will also stand to earn more than ever before. 

“Combined annual player payouts under the new unified organization in 2024 are expected to increase by nearly 250%, compared to 2023, which will provide more players with the opportunity to approach the sport as a full-time career,” the press release says.

Following the completion of the merger, the 2024 Carvana PPA Tour will include a calendar of events that began on January 9 at PPA Tour: The Masters in Palm Springs, California, and will feature 25 tournaments culminating with the PPA Tour Finals in San Clemente, California, on December 5-8. 

The 2024 MLP season schedule will feature a collection of regular season events, in addition to the 2024 MLP Mid-Season Tournament in July, and the 2024 MLP Playoffs in November. The league’s 24 teams will be divided across two levels - Premier and Challenger - with each team appearing at numerous regular season events.

Side note: we’d be remiss if we did not mention that this newly-unified entity is technically not the first pro pickleball league to offer both team- and individual-style play. 

Last year, the Association of Pickleball Players (APP) – traditionally an individual-style format – announced it will add team-based events to its 2024 roster.

UPDATE 3/27/2024: The holding company representing the merged entities of PPA Tour and MLP has announced its name and logo, as well as a new tour called United Pickleball State Championship Series.

 

No further details have been announced in regards to the United Pickleball State Championship Series, though we can only assume it will build on the amateur experience built by the PPA Tour.

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