The Dink Pickleball

The Dink Pickleball Logo
Pickleball Lives Here
News and Stories

PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball Merger Imminent

by Thomas Shields on

As of 4:53pm CT on February 28, 2024, the PPA Tour (PPA) and Major League Pickleball (MLP) merger has yet to be finalized.

However, according to key personnel at both the PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball, the merger is imminent. Since the new year, reports indicated that the merger had stalled as a result of a difference in philosophies among MLP team owners regarding how the celebrity-backed league should move forward.

As a reminder, the deal had also stalled in mid-January:

  • But as the deal approached the finish line, Knighthead Capital Management (Knighthead), a firm founded by Tom Wagner, part of MLP's Vegas Night Owls ownership group, offered an alternative:
  • Knighthead will serve as the lead investor instead of Tylis and SC Holdings
  • Knighthead will not charge the 2% management fee and 20% of profits
  • Knighthead would reduce the liquidation preference from 25% to 23%
  • Understandably, many MLP stakeholders are considering the deal.

Read: Curveball stalls PPA & MLP Merger

Shortly after we published the above article, Knighthead's proposal was withdrawn and it was expected that the deal would forge ahead.

But that didn't happen. Instead, reports speculated that the consortium of Major League Pickleball owners could not come to an agreement on how, or if, to combine with the PPA.

While some owners believed the merger to be the only viable path forward, others believed the league should abandon it altogether, and continue on independently. Disagreements primarily revolved around:

  • Investment Details: management fees and liquidation preferences
  • Player contracts: not all PPA & MLP players had finalized agreements with MLP
  • How does DUPR equity, which was part of the original proposal, factor into the deal, if at all

We recently broke down the state of the talks in a recent PicklePod episode.

With the looming "deadline" of March 1st – a month following the original deadline of January 31 – and whispers that players were beginning to contemplate indemnification due to lack of compensation, the Major League Pickleball Board voted Tuesday to move ahead with the merger.

With Board approval, the deal now heads to an owner vote, and all indications suggest that the owners are bought in and prepared to vote in favor.

According to people familiar with the matter, the PPA has already executed the contract, which means the only thing remaining is a counter-signature from MLP Executive Anne Worcester.

Read more:

Players Sign, Announcements Made | Tour Wars Live Updates
Major League Pickleball and the PPA Tour Announce Player Signings.
Inside Pickleball’s Civil War. 4 Fascinating Details.
6 fascinating details about pickleball’s civil war between the Pro Pickleball Association and Major League Pickleball.
MLP & PPA: Player Pay Cuts & Leadership Changes
Big moves at MLP and PPA: they’ve asked players to take pay cuts in order to secure a more financially-stable future.
Steve Kuhn Resigns from Major League Pickleball, Others Step Down
Major League Pickleball Founder Steve Kuhn announces resignation ahead of merger with the Pro Pickleball Association Tour (PPA Tour).

Read more