First ever PPA Tour bubly Team Championships to air live, exclusively on ABC

ESPN and the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) recently announced an agreement for exclusive coverage of the first-ever PPA Tour bubly Team Championships.

“We are thrilled to offer fans coverage of the PPA’s inaugural bubly Team Championships and give them an opportunity to watch what has become one of the country’s fastest growing sports,” said Tim Bunnell, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Programming.

“Our commitment is to serve sports fans anytime, anywhere with innovative content, and we are excited to be part of this sport’s growth trajectory.”

Featuring four world-class teams in a series of doubles matches, with an exciting tiebreaker format to decide the victor in the event of a draw, the competition will conclude with the airing of the two-hour finals later this month on ABC.

There were over 600,000 viewers for the Skechers Invitational on CBS in August.

“The PPA Tour has a fantastic partner in ESPN, and we’re very excited to showcase our sport at the national level,” said Connor Pardoe, Commissioner of the 2022 Bubly Team Championships Presented by MGM Rewards.

“We look forward to working together to tell the story of this exciting event and growing the fanbase of pickleball across the world.”

Pickleball has seen a meteoric rise both domestically and internationally over the last two years, with the sport now featuring more than 5 million active players in the United States alone.

In addition to the professional competition, more than 1,000 amateur players are expected to take to the courts, with pickleball festivities and activities running concurrently during each day’s competition.

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Convention Center will host the one-of-a kind pickleball event that includes $175,000 on the line in prize money.

“Las Vegas is the ultimate location where sports and entertainment converge,” said Pardoe, who also serves as Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the PPA.

Thrilled to have the first women’s and men’s pro team event at Mandalay Bay, Pardoe said the governing body is “always looking for ways to elevate the sport of pickleball, and our partnership with MGM Resorts takes us to a new level.”

A mashup of tennis, badminton and ping
pong, pickleball is easy and fun to play.
Ryan Foell | Professional Pickleball Association

The newly announced VIBE Pickleball League will only add to the ascension of the mashup of tennis, badminton and table tennis when it conducts a live team draft for the elite professional league.

VIBE Pickleball will start play in 2023 with six teams, each with a roster of male and female athletes.

“Pickleball has quickly become one of the world’s most competitive and popular sports,” said Lance Evans, Senior Vice President of Sports and Sponsorships for MGM Resorts International.

The series of upcoming events at Mandalay Bay provides the company with an opportunity to “demonstrate why MGM Resorts and Las Vegas are the leaders in the sports and entertainment industry,” said Evans.

VIBE Pickleball League is set to televise matches throughout the 2023 season in conjunction with the PPA Tour, which has relationships with ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and Tennis Channel, among others.

“VIBE presents an unparalleled opportunity to launch a new pro league that will feature the best-of-the-best in a highly competitive setting. I can’t wait to be a part of it,” said NBA team owner and entrepreneur, Mark Cuban.

Last month Cuban was named owner of the first VIBE Pickleball League team.

“With our top players, renowned ownership group and top-tier broadcasting partners, the league will reimagine how people enjoy and experience team pickleball,” said Cuban.

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