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MLP's Bay Area Breakers Score Strategic Partnership

by Jason Flamm on

NextShark is the leading source for Asian and Asian American news covering culture, issues, entertainment, politics, and more. They are now a part owner of the Bay Area Breakers, a team in the Challenger level of Major League Pickleball.

Formed in 2022 by Mimi and David Mercado and Ritchie Tuazon, the Bay Area Breakers drew notable investors like Geoffrey Nguyen, Wayley and Kathleen Louie, Jeff and Stacey Nishi, and former NBA star Jeremy Lin.

This diverse ownership group, primarily consisting of Asian Americans, aims to promote the growth of pickleball within Asian and Asian American markets.

High-profile athletes moving the needle for MLP

Lin, celebrated for his groundbreaking NBA career, has been a crucial member of the Breakers' ownership group, bringing both experience and visibility to the team.

His involvement highlights a broader trend of celebrities investing in pickleball, with figures like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Naomi Osaka, and Patrick Mahomes also investing in the sport, thus elevating its profile and appeal.

"I'm excited to work with the Bay Area Breakers to not just bring championships, but to create a franchise and culture built on teamwork, hard work, integrity, and love of the game," Lin said. "Can't wait to see what the future holds!"

Strategic partnerships are key to growth

Recently, on the recap of RacquetX, Bryce Morgan, the President of the PPA Tour, emphasized that sponsorships and strategic partnerships were key to growing the sport of pro pickleball.

RacquetX Panel: Pickleball’s leading organizations share insights on what’s next
The Dink hosted a panel discussion back in March at the RacquetX Conference with representatives from the various professional tours about the future of the sport, the changing pro landscape and much more.

Today's announcement could lead to more of these announcements in the near future for MLP teams.

"We are thrilled to join the Bay Area Breakers' ownership group," said Benny Luo, CEO of NextShark and a Bay Area native. "This investment aligns perfectly with our mission to empower and support the Asian American community. The Breakers' commitment to excellence and their strategic vision resonate with our values at NextShark. We look forward to contributing to their continued success and the broader growth of pickleball."

Geoffrey Nguyen, co-owner of the Bay Area Breakers, emphasized the team’s community-oriented goals: "The Bay Area Breakers represent the spirit of community and excellence. Our goal is to build a team that not only excels on the court but also inspires and unites the community. With NextShark's support, we are excited to elevate the sport of pickleball and make a lasting impact."

About the Bay Area Breakers

The Bay Area Breakers, currently ranked No. 1 in the Challenger Level, are focused on securing promotion to the Premier League next season. Their impressive performance to date highlights their potential and sets the stage for a promising future.

Major League Pickleball has rapidly emerged as a dominant force in the sport. From its inaugural 2021 season with eight teams, the league expanded to 12 teams in 2022 and now boasts 22 franchises.

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According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, pickleball saw a staggering growth of 51.8% from 2022 to 2023, reaching 13.6 million players. The Association of Pickleball Professionals reports that 36.5 million Americans played pickleball at least once in 2022.

The HUB Sports Club opening soon

The grand opening of the Breakers' new home venue, The HUB Sports Club in Alameda, is set for this Saturday, May 25. Officially named "The HUB, Home of the Bay Area Breakers," the venue offers an enhanced fitness experience with top-notch facilities, classes, and programs.

Members will have access to unlimited Group X classes, Barre, and Yoga, as well as a fully equipped gym with luxury locker rooms, showers, a sauna, and a steam room.

The Sports Club features eight indoor, state-of-the-art, permanent pickleball courts and a fully stocked Pickleball Pro Shop, with seven additional outdoor courts and a Bay Front bar and grill slated to open in early 2025.

Watch an upcoming exhibition match

An exhibition match at The HUB will feature the Breakers taking on the So Cal Hard Eights this Saturday at 11 a.m., with live streaming coverage available on the MLP and Breakers channels.

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Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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