A-B Purchases Major League Pickleball Expansion Team

What team wasn't disclosed, but Anheuser-Busch said the agreement "will give Anheuser-Busch a founding partnership with the larger MLP league and control over one of the league’s expansion teams – with ownership over everything from who the team drafts to which sponsors they bring on to support. Additionally, the partnership will extend to the DUPR rating, which is the most accurate and only global pickleball rating system across all recreational and pro players – allowing the company and its brands to tap into the growing population of recreational players and DUPR events around the country."

A-B has a long history in sports marketing, including its former ownership of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.  A-B said this latest announcement involves "Sponsorship Equity" which "will be a consideration for emerging sports – bringing sponsorship, marketing, and scale to a league or team’s overall success."

Other team owners include athletes such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Kim Clijsters, famed lecturer and research professor Brené Brown and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks Marc Lasry.

With the purchase of this new team, 2023 will be MLP’s largest year since its creation. The league grows from 12 to 16 teams, doubles events from three to six, and increases player prize money and payouts to more than $2 million.

What is pickleball?  It combines elements of tennis badminton and ping-pong, is played on a badminton-sized courts with a paddle and plastic ball with holes and can be played as singles or doubles.

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Jamie Larson