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It's Official: The PPA Tour and MLP Announce Much-Anticipated Consolidation

by The Dink Media Team on

It's officially official.

The much discussed and highly-anticipated merger between the Carvana PPA Tour and MLP by Margaritaville is a done deal.

The consolidation of the two entities 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 existing MLP team owners.

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

"To say that the last six months or so have been a rocky road would be an enormous understatement," said Zane Navratil, a highly-ranked pro on the PPA Tour and co-host of the PicklePod at The Dink. "As somebody that has been critical of the PPA in the past, I’m really encouraged by the conversations that I’ve personally had with their leadership recently. I think that everybody in pickleball is ready for the fresh start that this provides."

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More than 150 professional pickleball players - including the top ranked players in the world - have signed multi-year contracts with the new entity, with many of them set to participate in an expanded calendar that combines individual (PPA Tour) and team (MLP) events throughout the year.

Combined annual player payouts under the new unified organization in 2024 are expected to increase by nearly 250 percent compared to 2023.

"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 of the thrilling pickleball formats, ensuring that we're promoting the highest-quality, most exciting events."

"This merger signals the next phase of growth 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, all the while showcasing a consistent, premier product for fans across both playing formats."

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

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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.

The parent company's board of directors and team owners include an impressive roster of business leaders, leading investors, and professional athletes. The new board of directors 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.

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