Well well well...it looks like pickleball has a place on network television after all. The Professional Pickleball Association's recent OGIO Newport Beach Shootout drew over 1.25 million viewers across CBS, CBS Sports Network, and Tennis Channel.
The viewership data is comprised of one hour of national coverage on CBS, three hours of CBS Sports Network coverage, four hours of Tennis Channel coverage, and live-streamed coverage on YouTube.
CEO of the PPA Tour Connor Pardoe says this is a monumental moment for pickleball which underscores the fact that the sport is, in fact, great to watch on TV.
“People have doubted if pickleball would translate to national broadcasts," Pardoe says. "This major milestone clearly proves that people are excited about and seeking out pickleball on TV.”
According to a PPA press release, the tournament outperformed major sporting events throughout the week, including three playoff basketball games and 17 professional baseball games.
Not only did the PPA event receive high viewership, it even earned some praise from CBS Sports commentators.
“The caliber of competition is absolutely amazing,” said Billy Stone of CBS Sports.
“The athleticism of these athletes is off the charts. The ebbs and flows of individual rallies, teams switching from offense to defense, is remarkable. I can’t wait to see more of this.”
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PPA Newport Beach highlights
Viewers of the Newport Beach Shootout saw J.W. Johnson dominate and win two gold medals, taking home his first gold medal of the season in mixed doubles alongside his sister, Jorja, before adding a second gold medal in men’s doubles Sunday with Dylan Frazier.
Lacy Schneemann and Tyson McGuffin shocked the mixed doubles field. The 12th seeds toppled seeds 4, 5 and even the top seeded Ben Johns and Andrea Koop on their way to a second place finish.
The event may also go down in history for the first onsite pickleball paddle-based disqualification involving Jill Braverman and Sarah Ansboury.
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