NBA star LeBron James, along with fellow NBA champions Draymond Green and Kevin Love, is part of the consortium buying a team in Major League Pickleball (MLP).
The new ownership group is made up of Green, Love and James’ family office, LRMR Ventures, and investment company SC Holdings. Along with co-owner and chief executive officer of Relevent Sports Group, Daniel Sillman, Paul Rivera, who serves as the SpringHill Company’s chief marketing officer, has also joined the company.
Former US tennis champion James Blake is also among the high-profile owners on MLP’s list, which also includes Super Bowl champion Drew Brees and co-owner Marc Lasry of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The US league, which was founded in 2021, has 12 to 16 teams that will participate in MLP in 2023, and players will compete for more than US$2 million in six tournaments held in six different locales.
Pickleball is a tennis-like game that was created in 1965 and has an estimated 4.8 million participants worldwide. The International Federation of Pickleball (IFP), the sport’s international regulatory organisation, has over 70 member countries, though it has not yet received recognition from the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). There are over 56,000 people that play USA Pickleball.
Commenting on the investment, Major League Pickleball (MLP) founder Steve Kuhn said:
“Having SC Holdings, LRMR Ventures, and their incredible group as owners and investors in Major League Pickleball is not just great for MLP, it’s a watershed moment for pickleball in general.
“Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the country, building communities in cities and towns all over the world. This investment and the platform that this group provides will significantly help us with our goal to reach 40 million pickleball players by 2030.”