Did you know that pickleball has become a professional sport with its own league? Major League Pickleball (MLP) is the first and only professional pickleball league in the world. It combines the creativity and athleticism of ping pong with the strategy and team play of pickleball.
In this blog post, we will tell you everything you need to know about MLP, including its history, format, teams, players, schedule, and how to watch it live. Whether you are a pickleball fan or a curious newcomer, you will find something interesting and exciting in this article.
So let’s get started!
What Is Major League Pickleball?
Well, Major League Pickleball is also an organizing body for events around pickleball, with the intention to show the world how extraordinary pickleball really is. It features teams of two men and two women, who compete in a novel and fan-friendly format, with twists on traditional pickleball rules.
Major League Pickleball was started in 2021 and has expanded to 24 teams and six tournaments in 2023. The promotion and relegation system will add more excitement and drama to the league. Prize pool money up to $5,000,000
What Are the Rules and Format of Major League Pickleball?
Well, the format of Major League Pickleball is as follows:
- There are two levels of competition: Premier and Challenger, each with 12 teams of four players (two men and two women).
- There are six tournaments in a year, where all 12 teams in each level play against each other in a round-robin format.
- Every game is played to 15 points, win by two.
- The top six teams in each level move on to the quarterfinals and the single-elimination portion of the tournament.
- The teams will then flip levels and re-draft players for the second season.
- This will set up a promotion and relegation system, where teams can move up or down based on performance.
Each match consists of a maximum of five separate games, of which three are guaranteed:
- Game 1: female partners versus female partners
- Game 2: male partners versus male partners
- Game 3: mixed partners versus mixed partners
- Game 4: remaining mixed Partners versus remaining mixed partners
- Dream Breaker: In the event of a 2-2 tie, singles rotation versus singles rotation until one side wins.
The Teams and Players of Major League Pickleball
It has two levels of competition: Premier and Challenger. There are 12 teams at each level, with names like Lions, Jackrabbits, Chimeras, and the Bus. Further, each team has two men and two women players, who are selected in a draft based on their ranking and performance.
In addition, some top-ranked and most renowned players in all pro pickleball are:
- Ben Johns
- Simone Jardim
- Tyson McGuffin
- Catherine Parenteau
- Kyle Yates
- Lucy Kovalova
As we know, the teams are owned by various investors and celebrities, including Tom Brady, Kim Clijsters, LeBron James, Drew Brees, Marc Lasry, James Blake, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Kevin Love, and others.
Major League Pickleball Events in 2023
The 2023 MLP calendar has six events across Arizona, California, Florida, and Georgia. The year is divided into two seasons of three events each, with a promotion and relegation system between the Premier Level and the Challenger Level. Here, are the events list for 2023:
|Jan 26 – 29
|Mesa, AZ – Legacy Sports USA
|March 23 – 26
|Daytona Beach, FL – Pictona at Holly Hill
|June 15 – 18
|San Clemente, CA – Life Time Rancho San Clemente
|Season One Championship, San Clemente, CA – Life Time Rancho San Clemente
|Sep 21 – 24
|Atlanta, GA – Life Time Peachtree Corners
|Nov 2 – 5
|La Quinta, CA – LaQuinta Resort & Club
|Dec 7 – 10
|San Clemente, CA – Life Time Rancho San Clemente
|Season Two Championship, San Clemente, CA – Life Time Rancho San Clemente
If you are interested in watching the best pickleball players in the world compete in a team format, you can follow MLP on their website or social media channels.
One way to invest in Major League Pickleball is to buy a team or a stake in a team, as some celebrities and investors have done. However, this may require a lot of capital and connections, as the league is expanding and becoming more popular.
Major League Pickleball is held in various locations across the United States, such as Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Ohio. The first edition of MLP was held in Austin in 2021.
To join Major League Pickleball, you need to be a professional pickleball player and commit to playing for two years. Plus, need to play 5 PPA events, and you also need to be invited to be either a Gold or Silver Card Member. Which are based on your ranking and performance.
Major League Pickleball is owned by various investors and celebrities, including Tom Brady, Kim Clijsters, LeBron James, Drew Brees, Marc Lasry, James Blake, and others. The most recent team owner is the iconic brand Anheuser-Busch.
Well, It’s a Wrap!
So, as we know, MLP is the ultimate showcase of pickleball talent, featuring 24 teams, six events, and up to $5 million in prize money and payouts. Whether you are a seasoned player or a curious spectator, you will find something to love about MLP.
For instance, from the thrilling matches to the dynamic team format, to the beautiful venues, MLP offers an unparalleled experience for pickleball fans.
So don’t miss out on the action and excitement of MLP in 2023. Follow them on their website or social media channels and get ready to witness the future of pickleball!
I am the founder of BallSportsPro, a popular pickleball resource for players of all levels. I am a former professional tennis player, started playing pickleball in 2009 and quickly fell in love with the game. I launched BallSportsPro in 2018 to share my passion for the sport and to provide pickleball players with the latest news, tips, and gear reviews. Today, BallSportsPro is one of the most popular pickleball resources on the web, reaching hundreds of thousands of players each month. In addition to running the website, I also a regular contributor to Pickleball Magazine and a member of the USAPA Pickleball Ambassadors program.