Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, which has prompted some huge names to invest in major league pickleball teams. Still, none are quite so big as Anheuser-Busch, who just recently became the first Fortune 500 company to invest in a Major League Pickleball team.
Anheuser-Busch Enters the World of Pickleball
Anheuser-Busch has been one of the largest sponsors of major league sports for decades, and this past week they made another landmark move by purchasing their first Major League Pickleball team.
This places them in a great position to have their brand associated with the world of pickleball, much like it is with other professional sports. The purchase also comes at a very strategic time, as Vizzy (a Molson Coors division) claimed the spot of being the official hard seltzer of the PPA (Professional Pickleball Association).
Anheuser-Busch is really getting in on the ground up with Major League Pickleball, joining a handful of other major names that have recently invested in the sport – LeBron James and Tom Brady, just to name a couple.
The Fortune 500 company brings incredible brand recognition to the sport of pickleball, which is expected to only draw more attention to the sport that has been exploding in popularity. Anheuser-Busch has a natural sense of what attracts sports fans, so their acquisition of an MLP team signals that pickleball is only going to become even more of a household name.
Anheuser Busch hasn’t released the name of their team, but we do know that they’ll be invested in every element of team development, including the draft process that will determine which pro pickleball players will have their names attached to the iconic brand.
The new Anheuser Busch team is slotted to begin playing in the upcoming 2023 pickleball season.
Major League Pickleball
Major League Pickleball (MLP) is one of three major pro pickleball organizations. They join the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) and the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) in the world of pro pickleball. Founded in 2021, MLP started with just eight teams and has since grown to twelve teams. This number is expected to expand to as many as sixteen teams in 2023.
Major League Pickleball Teams
Major League Pickleball teams are determined by an annual draft, which Anheuser-Busch will be in on in the coming year. Each team consists of four players – two women and two men, setting each team up to play women’s, men’s, and mixed doubles tournaments.
Among the existing twelve teams are The 5s with Simone Jardim, The Clean Cause with Dekel Bar, Florida Smash with JW Johnson, BLQK with Zane Navratil, and the Hard Eights with Kyle Yates.
One interesting thing to note is that there appears to be some rivalry among the major pickleball organizations. Currently, the PPA prevents their players from playing in any tours that aren’t associated with the PPA.
This includes joining an MLP team and playing in any associated games. Currently, the exclusivity agreement signed by PPA players is for a term of three years. Given Major League Pickleball’s growth and partnerships with major names like Anheuser-Busch, it will be interesting to see where the pro pickleball players land after the exclusivity agreements come to an end.
The Future of Major League Pickleball
With Anheuser-Busch buying into the sport, the future of major league pickleball looks bright – and full of beer! With names like Tom Brady, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kim Clijsters, and Drew Brees, the 2023 season is going to be the biggest and most exciting yet for Major League Pickleball.
We look forward to following the upcoming MLP season and seeing how these major names in the world of sports brighten the landscape of professional pickleball. Stay up to date on all the latest pickleball news, gear, tips, and more by checking back in with The Pickleball Source.
3 thoughts on “First Major League Pickleball Team Bought by Fortune 500 Company”
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