The professional pickleball organizations Carvana PPA Tour (PPA Tour) and the MLP by Margaritaville (MLP) announced today the completion of their previously announced merger and the formation of a singular pro pickleball holding company. 

The consolidation of the two companies is backed by a $75 million investment from private equity firm SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, PPA Tour owners Tom Dundon and the Pardoe Family, and a roster of MLP team owners.

The merger combines the individual bracket-style tour and team-based pro pickleball formats, with the PPA Tour and MLP retaining their distinct brands and formats.

More than 150 pro pickleball players, including the top-ranked players in the world, have signed multi-year contracts with the new business, with many set to participate in an expanded calendar that combines individual (PPA Tour) and team (MLP) events throughout 2024, with the benefits of a streamlined schedule and following the sport more accessible for fans. 

Combined annual player payouts under the new organization in 2024 are expected to increase by nearly 250 percent compared to 2023, which will allow more players to approach the sport as a full-time career.

“Today is an exciting day for everyone involved or interested in the world of pickleball,” said PPA Tour Founder and CEO Connor Pardoe. “MLP and the PPA Tour working as partners creates a sustainable, viable and healthy ecosystem for all key participants in which the best players in the world can play in both thrilling pickleball formats, ensuring that we’re promoting the highest-quality, most exciting events.”

“This merger signals the next growth phase for professional pickleball, and the combined resources and networks of the PPA Tour and MLP will support the sport at all levels,” said MLP CEO Bruce Popko. “Commercially, this unification positions us to be even better partners, as sponsors, broadcast partners, venue operators, equipment manufacturers, and others will benefit from the combined, expanded 2024 schedule of PPA and MLP events. While unified through a parent company, the PPA Tour and MLP will maintain their distinct brands, allowing sponsors and partners to invest in the brands that best align with their business goals while showcasing a consistent, premier product for fans across both playing formats.”

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

The parent company’s board of directors and team owners include business leaders, investors and pro athletes. The new board will include Jason Stein from SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, Matt Turney from Dundon Capital Partners, MLP team owner Julio DePietro, and former Goldman Sachs Partner Brian Levine.

Images/Illustration courtesy Major League Pickleball