Major League Pickleball (MLP) Officially Launches in Dripping Springs, Texas

Major League Pickleball (MLP) Officially Launches in Dripping Springs, Texas

Officially launched Tuesday, September 21 at Dripping Springs entertainment venue Dreamland: Major League Pickleball, an elite consortium of 32 of the world’s best pickleball players and eight teams, who will vie for glory in a four-day competition in November with a total prize fund of $150,000 on the table plus equity stake in MLP for season one players.

In the league, the world’s best 32 professional players (16 women and 16 men) will compete in the Pritchard Cup, a nationally broadcast competition named after the founder of the sport, Joel Pritchard. The competition will take place over four days at Dreamland, Nov. 5-8. Each team will consist of four players — two male and two female — and a player draft has been scheduled Oct. 1 at the Professional Pickleball Association’s Texas Open Shootout in Rockwall, northeast of Dallas. Eight teams will compete for the Pritchard Cup, named after the founder of the sport, Joel Pritchard.

Pickleball — a racket sport that combines attributes of tennis, ping pong, and badminton — may become even more popular with the rollout of the MLP. It has already been dubbed “the fastest-growing sport in America” by The Economist. Similar to tennis, but played on a smaller court with a solid paddle and a ball similar to a Wiffle ball. It was invented in 1965 and initially gained popularity in retirement communities, but has caught fire in recent years among a broader audience: there were an estimated 4.2 million pickleball players in 2020, a 21% increase from 2019, according to the USA Pickleball Association.


The list of the eight 2021 MLP team owner groups features an impressive lineup of Austin, Texas, and U.S. business, sports, entertainment, and industry pros, including:

  • Internationally recognized researcher, storyteller, author, podcaster, and all-around awesome encourager Brené Brown.
  • Navdeep Sooch, chairman of Silicon Labs.
  • C3 Presents co-founders Charles Attal and Charlie Walker, creators of Austin City Limits Music Festival and the organizers of Lollapalooza.
  • Bryan Sheffield, owner of Austin FC.
  • Tim Klitch, founder and chief fun officer of Austin Pickle Ranch.
  • Charles Kiley, CFO at the Brené Brown Education and Research Group.
  • Dr. Steve Alley, a pediatrics specialist based in Houston.
  • James Blake, former world-ranked professional tennis player and current TV commentator.
  • Marc Lasry, co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Hollywood talent agent Jim Toth.
  • John Raymond, CEO and co-founder of The Energy & Minerals Group.
  • Fuel oil trader Eric Kuo.
  • Mike Meldman, CEO of Discovery Land Company and co-founder of Casamigos Tequila.
  • Wes Hurt, founder and CEO of Clean Cause.
  • Tim Berry, founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software.
  • Ritchie Tuazon of Capital Group.



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