AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) — Kevin Durant. LeBron James. Draymond Green. Kevin Love.
No, this isn’t the next incarnation of the Monstars. These NBA superstars are all part owners of new teams in Major League Pickleball Inc., the Austin-based organization at the vanguard of a once niche sport now hitting the mainstream. The game is attracting millions of dollars and attention from businesses in Texas and across the nation.
MLP launched in 2021 with an initial valuation of a little more than $1 million. By the end of this year, founder Steve Kuhn said, that valuation “will be well over $100 million.”
Kuhn provided that estimate before MLP announced last month a merger with the Professional Pickleball Association’s new Vibe Pickleball League, which counts Mark Cuban among its team owners. Instead of expanding from 12 teams to 16 in its second season, Major League Pickleball in 2023 will now have 24 teams, competing at six events for up to $5 million in prize money.