Carvana PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball close merger deal


The Carvana Professional Pickleball Association Tour (PPA Tour) and MLP by Margaritaville (Major League Pickleball) have officially announced the completion of their highly anticipated merger in what is a significant development within the sports industry. This groundbreaking union has successfully formed a new, definitive professional pickleball holding company, underpinned by a robust $75 million investment. The financial backing comes from a consortium that includes private equity firm SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, Carvana PPA Tour owners Tom Dundon and the Pardoe Family, alongside a group of existing Major League Pickleball team owners. This merger not only marks a pivotal moment for professional pickleball but also heralds the next phase of growth for this emerging sport.

The consolidation integrates the premier individual bracket-style tour and the innovative team-based professional pickleball formats. Despite the merger, both the PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball will retain their unique brands and the distinct, exciting formats that have garnered considerable fan and player support. This strategic move aims to streamline the professional pickleball landscape, offering over 150 professional players, including the world’s top-ranked talents, the opportunity to compete in an expanded calendar. This calendar will blend individual (PPA Tour) and team (MLP) events throughout the year, significantly enhancing the sport’s accessibility to both avid and casual fans.

A key highlight of this merger is the projected increase in combined annual player payouts, which are expected to surge by nearly 250% in 2024 compared to 2023. This substantial increase in earnings potential is poised to attract more players to consider pickleball as a viable full-time career. Connor Pardoe, Founder and CEO of the PPA Tour, expressed his enthusiasm for the merger, stating, “Today is an exciting day for everyone involved or interested in the world of pickleball.” He emphasized the merger’s role in creating a sustainable ecosystem for all stakeholders and ensuring the promotion of high-quality, exciting events.

MLP CEO Bruce Popko also highlighted the merger’s commercial benefits, noting that the unified entity would provide enhanced partnership opportunities for sponsors, broadcast partners, venue operators, and equipment manufacturers. The 2024 schedule of combined PPA and MLP events is expected to showcase a premier product for fans, maintaining the distinct brands of PPA Tour and MLP while offering sponsors and partners flexible investment options.

The 2024 Carvana PPA Tour and MLP season schedules have been announced, with the PPA Tour featuring 25 tournaments and the MLP season including a collection of regular and playoff events. This comprehensive schedule underscores the merger’s commitment to elevating professional pickleball and providing an unprecedented platform for the sport’s athletes and enthusiasts.

The merger’s board of directors and team owners comprise an impressive roster of business leaders, investors, and professional athletes, including Jason Stein from SC Holdings, Al Tylis, Matt Turney from Dundon Capital Partners, MLP team owner Julio DePietro, and former Goldman Sachs Partner Brian Levine. This strategic alignment of leadership and investment is set to propel professional pickleball into a new era of growth and popularity.

In conclusion, the merger between the Carvana PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball, backed by a significant $75 million investment, represents a transformative moment for professional pickleball. By combining the strengths of individual and team formats, this merger promises to enhance the sport’s appeal, increase player earnings, and provide a unified, dynamic schedule for fans worldwide.

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