Hide your tennis courts… Pickleball — a mix of badminton, ping-pong, and tennis — has become the fastest-growing sport in the US with nearly 5M players. Now, MVPs want a swing at the pickle pie. Yesterday, the MLP (Major League Pickleball) announced that NBA legend Lebron James joined its investor ranks.
Game, set, match… Pickleball gained popularity during the pandemic as people looked for socially distant group activities. Since it requires less stamina (and formal training) than tennis or b-ball, it’s easier to pick up. Now, pickleball has 10K designated courts in the US, with three new ones opening each day.
The pickle jar is far from full… Thanks to leagues like the MLP and investors like Lebron, pickleball is gaining corporate attention. Pickleball tourneys have attracted sponsorships from brands like DraftKings, Hertz, and Chase. MLP’s founder said MVP investments would help the league reach its goal of 40M players by 2030. If momentum sticks, we could see a pickle-conomy emerge (think: merch, sponsors).