Morning Buzz

Bucks' Lasry among new pickleball league investors

By David Rumsey
major league pickleball

Major League Pickleball is launching this morning with backing from prominent investors in the sports industry, including Bucks co-Owner Marc Lasry, as organizers look to capitalize on the burgeoning sport that is seeing fast-growing participation rates across the country. Founded by Austin-based businessman Steve Kuhn, MLP will feature pickleball’s top 32 players competing in a Ryder Cup-style format on eight teams, each made up of two men and two women, all receiving equal prize money. The inaugural event in Drippings Springs, Texas on Nov. 5-9 will make up Season 1 and offer more than $150,000 in prize money, comprised of cash and league equity for the players. The purse marks the largest ever for a pro pickleball event. MLP is in advanced stages of talks with a broadcast partner, with a deal likely to be in place before the draft on Oct. 1, and hopes to have sponsor deals completed ahead of the season.

“I think it it's got a huge amount of potential,” said Lasry, who will own a team alongside former tennis player James Blake. “That’s what attracted me to it.” The total amount invested from owners of the eight teams is thought to be more than $1M, so each group has likely contributed over $100,000. Blake: “To start a new event and then create your own history that way and see if it can continue to grow … for me, that's really exciting to see.” Lasry added, “I think you're going to be shocked of where it is five years from now.”

See more on MLP’s launch later today in SBJ.

MAJOR LEAGUE PICKLEBALL

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