Professional pickleball player Parris Todd (left) returns a shot while playing with doubles partner Lauren Stratman against Maggie and Mary Brascia in the semifinals during the Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.

In news that will surely be as seismic to the sports world as the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the professional pickleball civil war is finally over. The Professional Pickleball Association and Major League Pickleball have announced a merger agreement which will bring the two leagues under one umbrella.

Pickleball has been one of the fastest growing sports in America as it’s seen a huge gain in popularity, especially among older adults. Many investors have tried to take advantage of the boom to grow professional leagues and turn the sport into a television attraction. ESPN and others have gotten in on the act and televised pickleball matches, sometimes featuring famous athletes from other sports. Unfortunately, pickleball just isn’t an exciting sport to watch on television. Nevertheless, millions of dollars continue to flow into the professional circuit in the hopes of one day making it into a thing.

This investment includes a whopping $50 million to support the PPA-MLP merger. It had been on and off since last year and even included some drama around exclusive contracts. In case you haven’t quite been able to differentiate which league would take over the sports world, the Professional Pickleball Association is the knockout style pickleball league that “determines the best players in the world” while Major League Pickleball is the “innovative team-based, coed league format that brings thrilling fan-centric experiences.” Now that both forms of competitive pickleball can exist as one big happy family, you no longer have to worry about any more sleepless nights.

Both leagues issued press releases on their respective websites announcing the merger.

Today, leading professional pickleball organizations MLP by Margaritaville (MLP) and Carvana PPA Tour (PPA Tour) announced an agreement to merge under a unified and definitive professional pickleball holding company. The consolidation of the two entities is backed by a $50M investment from SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, PPA Tour owner Tom Dundon, and a roster of existing MLP team owners.

The new combined organization will provide players, fans, and sponsors with the benefits of a streamlined schedule and single entity overseeing the two still-distinct brands. The merger combines the leading individual and team-based professional pickleball formats into a single parent company, equally supporting and promoting both MLP and the PPA Tour. The new holding company will provide players and sponsors great confidence and opportunity in the future of professional pickleball. 

The PPA Tour is the traditional, bracket-style tour format that determines the best players in the world and showcases individual athletes and their unique journeys to reach the top. 

MLP is the innovative team-based, coed league format that brings thrilling fan-centric experiences and competition throughout the regular season and championships.

The A-list of celebrity and athlete investors in PPA or MLP franchises include LeBron James, Heidi Klum, Kevin Durant, Eva Longoria, Drew Brees, Michael Phelps, and many more. Both tours are backed by billionaire owners (Tom Dundon and Steve Kuhn respectively), who put aside their differences for the betterment of the sport and the globe as a whole.

Back in May ESPN announced an agreement to show eight PPA events through November 12th. MLP had their own deal in May with ESPN2 to show the Premier League Super Finals in both June and December. Hopefully now that the sport has finally been united, it clears the path for pickleball’s impending world domination.