Monday, October 3rd, 2022
There has been big news dropping left and right in the pickleball sphere and Major League Pickleball drops another doozy.
MLP will be going from three events to six events for their 2023 calendar. This boosts the prize money from $1 million in 2022 to $2.4 million+ in 2023. This is more than double the prize money increase with not a lot of revenue streams it seems, as of yet. With big time players jumping on board the pickleball train like Drew Brees and Lebron James, television contracts are not a matter of if but when for this organization. We predict with contracts for mainstream TV in the works, sponsors will be there to support the $2.4 million in prizes. The MLP organization founder Steve Kuhn and Commissioner Brooks Wiley will be rolling out a new format for the 2023 season. Instead of having four days of team event play, the first three days will be a more standard tournament style, with singles being played on Thursday, mixed doubles on Friday and gender doubles on Saturday. Sundays will be saved for the MLP team event where they will play three other teams. The teams that go 3-0 will compete in the Team Match Final. This will happen during each of the five "regular season" events, culminating in the last event in Palm Springs, California where the top eight teams will compete to win the MLP Team Championship. The format resembles a MLB, NBA, NFL team traveling format with a regular season and a championship at season end.
MLP Dates & Locations Jan 26 - 29: Las Vegas, NV (Darling Tennis Center) March 23 - 26: Mesa, AZ (Legacy Bell Bank Park) June 15 - 18: Los Angeles, CA (Sherwood CC) Sep 21 - 24: Austin, TX (Pickle Ranch East) Nov 2 - 5: Bradenton, FL (GT Bray Recreation Center) Dec 7 - 10: Palm Springs, CA (La Quinta Resort & Club)
We've received mixed reviews on how players feel about MLP stepping away from their typical team format and dipping their toes in the more traditional format like the APP Tour and PPA Tour. However, rally scoring will still be used as players will play the best 2 out of 3 games to 21. Players will be unable to play with the same partner twice in the new Thursday-Saturday events and only 16 entries will be allowed for singles and 32 entries for mixed and gender doubles.
PPA players will be allowed to play Major League Pickleball events. Yes, you heard that right! No one has come out with an official statement yet, but sources tell us the likes of Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters could grace MLP's grand stage once again. We are here for the deeper competition that will bring to the 2023 season. We aren't sure the structure of this agreement other than the PPA contracted players wanted a taste of the big prize money that MLP was offering but couldn't take a bite because of their strict PPA contracts. Thomas Shields from The Dink interviewed Tyson McGuffin (check that out here ) and McGuffin expressed some disappointment in not getting a shot to play for the $100K at MLP. Times are changing. MLP prize pools are setting the example for what prize monies should be and will become, in years to come.
Lastly, there is a rumor swirling around that the PPA and MLP are joining forces and merging together. Based on our last article, which you can read here, we aren't sold on that yet.
Will it be a requirement for MLP players to play in the traditional events ? Will PPA players want to do that...will they be able?
We will keep you posted with the latest as this unfolds. Let us know your thoughts and comments below!