Pickleball is rapidly growing in China, and the Association of Pickleball Players (APP Tour) is capitalizing: they've announced a joint deal with ESPN to bring APP Tour broadcast coverage to Mainland China for the first time.
Through an extension of its distribution agreement with ESPN in the United States, APP will air a post-tournament recap special from the 2023 APP Philadelphia Open (August 23-27) in the largest media market in the world.
A full broadcast schedule for China will be announced at a later date.
In January, the Tour announced its partnership with ESPN to stream hundreds of hours of APP Tour coverage on ESPN+ and air eight hours of post-event recap specials on ESPN and ESPN2.
This appears to be part of a larger strategy the APP has for global expansion.
The latest addition to the ESPN / APP agreement builds on the APP’s partnerships with Pickleball England, Pickleball Sweden, and the organization’s activities supporting the growth of pickleball worldwide.
"The announcement of the extension of our partnership with ESPN into Mainland China is a historic day for the APP, and for pickleball worldwide," commented Tom Webb, Chief Marketing Officer of the APP.
"There is a huge and ever-growing demand for pickleball in the United States and globally, and being able to take APP tournaments into tens of millions of potential viewers throughout China will help supercharge the already incredible growth of the sport in one of the largest markets on the planet."