The so-called pro pickleball tour war between Major League Pickleball (MLP) and the PPA Tour seems to be heating up again.
MLP just announced that it has started signing top players to multi-year, guaranteed contracts which include a player off-season and "enhanced financial security."
A press release says MLP's player-focused culture was a driving force behind this decision, and that players directly asked for this style of contract.
"It’s in the best interest of the sport of professional pickleball – both now and in the future – as MLP continues to define the standards for pro pickleball athletes," the release says.
MLP also notes that this new style of contract is a direct result of conversing with the players about what they need to earn a professional living.
Obviously, we can't help but wonder what this means in the grand scheme of the tour wars.
Is this a shot at PPA, and will PPA respond? Is this the start of a race for talent in pickleball?
With all the money in pro pickleball right now, could this initiate a spending war, and is that sustainable?
Late last year, the pickleball community witnessed a remarkable ceasefire in the form of PPA and MLP directly collaborating to merge PPA's team-style VIBE league with MLP.
PPA had announced VIBE only weeks before as a direct competitor to MLP's team-based format. Still, the two leagues were able to come together to agree that merging would create bigger events with more prize money for players.
Meanwhile, the APP Tour, a third pro league, is storming the globe with international partnerships as far as way as India.
Fascinating times. We'll keep you posted on the next league's volley.