Major League Pickleball (MLP) is a professional sports league dedicated to the popular racquet sport known as pickleball. As the sport continues to gain immense popularity across the globe, MLP has emerged as the premier platform for showcasing top talent and providing thrilling competition for both players and fans. With its organized structure, competitive teams, and televised matches, MLP has transformed pickleball into a mainstream spectator sport, captivating audiences with its fast-paced action and skilled gameplay.
What Is Major League Pickleball?
Major League Pickleball (MLP) is a professional sports league solely dedicated to the fast-growing sport of pickleball. It was established to provide a highly competitive platform for elite players to showcase their skills and compete at the highest level. Just like other prominent sports leagues, MLP follows a structured organization, complete with teams, tournaments, and a passionate fan base.
MLP focuses on creating an electrifying and thrilling environment for both players and spectators. The league comprises exceptional professional players who have exhibited exceptional talent and unwavering commitment to the sport. These athletes undergo rigorous training and compete against each other in a series of tournaments held throughout the season.
Teams in MLP consist of skilled players who compete in various match formats, including singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. The season builds up to an eagerly anticipated championship event, where the top teams clash for the ultimate title.
As the sport of pickleball continues to gain popularity, Major League Pickleball stands at the forefront, providing a prestigious platform for top-level competition and further fueling the sport's growth.
How Major League Pickleball Works?
- Major League Pickleball (MLP) was founded with the primary objective of establishing a professional platform for top-level pickleball players to showcase their skills and compete at the highest level. As a professional sports league, MLP has a governing body responsible for overseeing its operations, including scheduling, rule enforcement, and player contracts.
- MLP consists of multiple teams, each representing a specific city or region. These teams form the backbone of the league and compete against one another in various match formats. The number of teams within MLP may vary based on the league’s size and expansion plans. Each team is composed of a roster of skilled players who are recruited and signed by the teams themselves. The recruitment process involves evaluating players based on their skill level, performance in previous tournaments, and how well they fit the team’s strategic approach and playing style.
- The MLP season follows a format similar to other professional sports leagues. It typically runs for a predetermined duration and includes a set number of matches and tournaments. The league’s schedule is designed to provide a balanced and competitive season for all teams, ensuring fair opportunities to showcase their abilities.
- Matches within Major League Pickleball can feature various formats, including singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. This diversity allows players to exhibit their skills and versatility in different playing scenarios. The specific match format for each game is determined by the league’s rules and regulations, which are put in place to ensure fairness and consistency.
- Throughout the season, MLP organizes tournaments where teams compete against each other. These tournaments may take place at different venues across the designated regions of the league. Apart from providing a platform for intense competition, tournaments enable teams to accumulate points, earn prize money, and improve their standings within the league.
- The pinnacle of the MLP season is the highly anticipated championship event. This event brings together the top-ranked teams from the season’s standings to compete for the coveted league title. The championship event is usually held at a prestigious venue and garners significant media coverage and fan attendance, highlighting the excitement and prestige surrounding MLP’s pinnacle event.
- Major League Pickleball secures sponsorships and partnerships with brands to support its operations. This allows the league to offer substantial prize money for tournaments and provide financial incentives for players and teams. Sponsorships also contribute to the overall growth and development of the league.
- MLP strives to increase its media coverage and broadcasting options to reach a wider audience. Matches are broadcasted on television and streamed online, allowing fans to watch the games from anywhere. Expert commentators provide analysis and insights, enhancing the viewing experience.
- Major League Pickleball aims to create an engaging experience for its fans. Live events offer an electrifying atmosphere, with enthusiastic spectators cheering for their favorite teams. Fan clubs and supporter groups organize events and activities to foster a sense of community and camaraderie among pickleball enthusiasts.
Major League Pickleball Events 2023
The 2023 Major League Pickleball (MLP) calendar has been released and features six events across Arizona, California, Florida, and Georgia. The year will be divided into two “seasons” of three events. Here are the stops for 2023 Major League Pickleball seasons:
|January 26-29||Mesa, AZ||Legacy Sports USA|
|March 23-26||Daytona Beach, FL||Pictona at Holly Hill|
|June 15-18||San Clemente, CA||Life Time Rancho San Clemente|
|September 21-24||Atlanta, GA||Life Time Peachtree Corners|
|November 2-5||La Quinta, CA||LaQuinta Resort & Club|
|December 7-10||San Clemente, CA||Life Time Rancho San Clemente|
The year will be divided into two seasons of three events. In the first season, 12 teams will compete in the MLP Premier Level and 12 will compete in the MLP Challenger Level, with rosters consisting of two men and two women. The teams will then flip levels and re-draft players for the second season.
Major League Pickleball Rules 2023
In 2023, there will be changes to the official pickleball rule book. Some of the changes include the spin serve no longer being legal, and the drop serve being basic with no topspin1. Other changes include restrictions on clothing color, clarified faults, and the addition of a 3/5 format. There are also updates to Major League Pickleball (MLP) rules such as group play matches will include all four games regardless of outcome2.
Some other changes to Major League Pickleball (MLP) rules include service foot faults coming with a verbal warning and re-serve. Tiebreakers to determine teams advancing group play and seeding for tournaments are: match wins, games net, points won % (points scored/points total).
There is also a new MLP card system for unsportsmanlike conduct where referees can issue verbal warnings, followed by a Blue Card (Technical Warning) or an Orange Card (Technical Foul – results in loss of points). Additionally, MLP will feature a video replay challenge system where each team has 2 Free Challenges in each game.
Does Mpl Have a Draft?
Yes, Major League Pickleball (MLP) does have a draft. The Mlp draft follows a snake format where the sequential first-pick order for all twelve teams is predetermined by a random lottery selected by the commissioner of the league.
Each team makes a single-player pick in the player draft order determined by the lottery. When the first round is over, the team that picked last in the first-round picks first in the second round and follows that order in reverse with the team that picked first in the first round now going last1. MLP teams are made up of four players, which means four rounds in total for the Mlp draft.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: The cost to buy a Major League Pickleball team is approximately $1 million as an expansion fee for new franchises.
Answer: While specific information on how to watch all matches in the MLP second season is still awaited, it is expected that the finals will be televised by the CBS Network. Additionally, preliminary matches can potentially be live-streamed on the official MLP website.
Answer: Aside from Major League Pickleball (MLP), two significant competitive leagues in the sport include the PPA Tour and the APP Tour. It’s worth noting that the PPA’s Vibe League merged with MLP in 2022.
In conclusion, Major League Pickleball has played a pivotal role in elevating pickleball from a recreational activity to a professional sport with a dedicated fan base.
The league’s commitment to promoting and expanding the sport has resulted in increased visibility and opportunities for both players and enthusiasts. With its exciting matches, star players, and growing media coverage, MLP has successfully carved out a prominent place in the sporting landscape. As pickleball continues to grow in popularity, Major League Pickleball will undoubtedly remain at the forefront, driving the sport’s development and thrilling audiences with its high-level competition.
Founder of BallSportsGear, Sports Enthusiast and Speaker.