Major League Pickleball Announces Lebron James as One of Many Investors
We’ve all heard of the MLB, the NBA, the MLS, the NFL, and many more major sports leagues in North America and across the globe. Well, there’s a new player in town, and it’s been backed by one of the GOATs of basketball: Lebron James.
Earlier this week, Major League Pickleball announced Lebron James as one of many in a group of investors in the league. Even more surprisingly, former Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love, and GS Warrior star Draymond Green have also been announced as investors in the new league.
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in North America, with the MLP looking to expand from 12 to 16 teams in 2023, playing across 6 major US cities next season. With the increased funding and investment from the NBA’s best, we’re in for an extremely rapid expansion by the MLP.
The tennis-ping pong-badminton mixed sport has seen immense interest in previous years, with the likes of current professional athletes playing with one another. With more and more interest and involvement in the sport over the past several years, the MLP’s strategic advisor stated there are over 60 different groups interested in investment.
It’s not often we see many new leagues being created in professional sports, let alone almost an entirely brand-new sport. But how does a new league like the MLP compete with the likes of these multi-billion if not trillion-dollar leagues? The thing is Pickleball isn’t like basketball or football. You don’t have to be 7ft tall or built like Dwayne Johnson; its unique value proposition is that anyone can play! As Lebron’s friend and business partner Maverick Carter says, “I immediately connected with the sport's community and its capacity to be both fun and competitive.”
All it comes to now is how will we see their growth in the modern sports market. Will it become the next billion-dollar league and attract fans like the NBA and NFL do? Probably not. But what they can do is be themselves. Market the MLP as an all-new, revolutionary, and completely unique sport and league.
There’s so much there for them to do, especially with the financial backing of the Lakers superstar Lebron James, maybe we’ll even see an LA Lakers professional pickleball team?
It’s a sport with massive potential, it’s just a question of getting there.
October 7, 2022 - Issue 57 of The Sport Marketeer