Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the US, especially among the senior population. Suppose you are a fan of this exciting and fun sport. This is the first-ever nationwide competitive pickleball tournament (National Pickleball League) for professionals in the Champions Division (50+).
This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about the NPL 2023 season. This includes the teams, players, events, prizes, and more.
What Is the National Pickleball League?
The National Pickleball League was founded in 2021 by passionate pickleball enthusiasts. Organizers wanted to give the best senior players in the country a chance to showcase their skills and compete.
To inspire more people to play and enjoy pickleball, the NPL is organized by champions pros for champions pros. In the NPL (Age 50+), players collaborate and strategize together, and share their experience.
For their hard work and dedication to the sport, the NPL provides exposure, recognition, and financial rewards.
The NPL is also proud to announce that it has partnered with USA Pickleball, the national governing body for pickleball in the US. This partnership means that the NPL will follow USA Pickleball’s official rules and regulations. It will also promote its programs and initiatives to grow the sport at all levels.
Who Are the Teams and Players in the National Pickleball League 2023?
The National Pickleball League 2023 is a team-based competition for Champions Division (50+) professional pickleball players. There are six teams in the league, each representing a different city and owned by a local pickleball club or business. The teams are:
- Austin Ignite: Owned by Ignite Pickleball LLC, this team represents Austin, Texas, a city with a growing pickleball community and culture. Some of their top players are Dave Fleming, Irina Tereschenko, Scott Burr, and Julie Johnson.
- Boca Raton Picklers: Owned by Boca Raton Pickleball Center LLC, this team represents Boca Raton, Florida, one of the hotspots of pickleball in the US. Some of their top players are Dave Weinbach, Kris Anderson, Brian Staub, and Lisa Naumu.
- Denver Iconics: Owned by Iconic Investments LLC, this team represents Denver, Colorado, a city with a vibrant pickleball scene and culture. Some of their top players are Kyle Yates, Christine McGrath Barksdale, Rob Davidson, and Gigi LeMaster.
- Indy Drivers: Owned by Indy Drivers LLC / Pickleball Central Inc., this team represents Indianapolis, Indiana, where the largest online retailer of pickleball equipment and apparel is based. Some of their top players are Scott Tingley, Sarah Ansboury, Mark Renneson, and Corrine Carr.
- Naples JBB United: Owned by JBB United LLC, this team represents Naples, Florida, another pickleball paradise in the Sunshine State. Some of their top players are Scott Moore, Jennifer Dawson, Steve Kennedy, and Cammy MacGregor.
- Oklahoma City Punishers: The team is owned by Chicken N Pickle OKC LLC and Punishers Pickleball LLC, two entities that support and promote pickleball in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Some of the top players on the OKC Punishers roster are Wes Gabrielsen, Leigh Waters, Steve Cole Sr., and Anna Leigh Waters.
When and Where Are the Upcoming Events?
The NPL 2023 season starts with the first league match on June 3 & 4 at Chicken N Pickle Phoenix / Glendale, Arizona.
This event will feature all six teams playing against each other in a round-robin format, with each match consisting of five games (men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles). The event will be live-streamed on all eight courts from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM MST.
The NPL 2023 season will culminate with the NPL Championships on October 13 – 15 at the same venue. This event will determine the NPL Champion for 2023 and the individual awards for the season’s best players.
The top four teams from the league standings will qualify for the Championships, where they will play in a single-elimination bracket. The Championship match will be a best-of-seven series, with the first team to win four games taking home the title and $100,000 in prize money.
In addition to the NPL events, the NPL players will also participate in the APP Tour tournament (date and location TBD), where they will compete against other top pickleball players worldwide.
The APP Tour is a professional pickleball tour that hosts events across the US and Canada, offering high-quality competition and entertainment for players and fans.
How to Watch and Follow the Upcoming Events?
When it comes to watching and following the NPL, you have several options. You can watch the live stream of all the matches on the NPL website or their YouTube channel. You can also follow their social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and highlights, interviews, and more.
Show your support for your favorite teams and players by using the hashtags #NPLPickleball and #ChampionsPros. If you want to attend the events in person, you can buy tickets online or at the door. The ticket prices vary depending on the event and the seating options.
What Are the Prizes and Awards for the National Pickleball League 2023?
The NPL 2023 season offers many prizes and awards for teams and players who perform well. The most coveted prize is the NPL Championship title, with a trophy and $100,000 in prize money.
The runner-up team will receive $50,000, while the third-place team will earn $25,000. The fourth-place team will receive $10,000. The NPL will also recognize players who excel in their respective categories. Some individual awards are:
- MVP: The season’s most valuable player, based on their overall performance and contribution to their team.
- Rookie of the Year: The best player new to the NPL or not playing in previous seasons.
- Comeback Player of the Year: The player who has overcome a significant challenge or setback (such as injury, illness, or personal issue) and returned to a high level.
- Sportsmanship Award: The player who exhibits exemplary sportsmanship, fair play, respect, and integrity on and off the court.
- Fan Favorite Award: The player who receives the most votes from fans online or at events.
The winners of these awards will be announced at the end of the season, after the NPL Championships. They will receive trophies, certificates, and other prizes from NPL sponsors.
A Professional Pickleball League for Champions and Pickleball Professionals (Age 50+).
As of 2023, there will be teams from six cities throughout the country participating in the league. The draft for the league will take place in April, and the season will begin in June. In October, the playoffs and championships will be held.
The serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has been a leader in a variety of fields for years.
In early 2022, Vaynerchuk bought a team in Major League Pickleball, a fairly early entry compared to other big names.
A Level 4 pickleball player has considerable experience in the game and typically has a strong understanding of strategy, solid shot execution, and competitive on-court behavior. They have a comprehensive knowledge of all the rules and are skillful with forehand strokes and serve returns.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the National Pickleball League 2023 season. If you are a pickleball fan or player, check out this exciting and innovative league showcasing some of the sport’s best senior talents.
Whether you watch online or in person, you will be entertained by thrilling matches and unique skills. Take advantage of this opportunity to witness history in the making!
I am a professional physiotherapist and the author of the BallSportsPro. I worked with athletes of all levels, from amateur to professional, and i helped them overcome injuries and improve their performance. I am a certified Pickleball instructor and has been playing the sport for over 10 years.