Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and Tennis Hall of Famer Kim Clijsters have officially boarded the pickleball train.
Athletes, along with a team of investors, have purchased a pickleball team, joining the ranks of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Drummond Green, who have bought a team together.,
“I’m trying to find a way to extend my professional sports career beyond my 40s, even into my 50s, 60s, 70s,” Brady said in a video posted to Instagram on Wednesday. and I think I have found the answer.” “Looks like everyone has the answer too: Pickle balls.”
“I’m coming to dominate the game,” he said.
Major League Pickleball announced the acquisition in a press release Wednesday, saying that Brady and Clijsters has purchased an expansion team that will begin play in the 2023 season.
“We are thrilled to welcome them to our unmatched roster of strategic partners who have played a vital role individually and collectively in helping us rise up the professional pickle ball, bringing joy to millions of people around the world. Our mission is to reach 40 million pickleball players by 2030,” MLP founder Steve Kuhn said in the statement.
Brady echoed Kuhn’s sentiments, saying that he was “ready to bring awareness to the whole country, around the world.”
The team is part of the league’s plan to go from 12 to 16 teams in total. MLP is also adding to its annual competitions, doubling them from three to six events.
“I am thrilled to be able to help show professional pickleball and make an impact on the sport through my experience gained in the top levels of professional tennis,” Clijsters said in the press release.
According to MLP, the team is going to be 50% women-owned, with investments from Clijsters, Wall Street bond saleswoman Kelly Simpkins and Nighthead Capital Management financial advisor Caitlin Kerr, who will serve as the team’s general manager. The League called the ownership group “testament to the League’s fundamental mission of gender equality”.
Pickleball is one of the few professional sports where players have the opportunity to play as co-ed teams in mixed doubles matches in addition to separate men’s and women’s doubles games.
According to the 2022 Sports and Fitness Industry Association Single Sport Report on Pickleball, the sport, which was invented in Washington state in 1965, has become the fastest-growing sport in the country with 4.8 million players in 2021.
The game combines elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton, and players rally plastic wiffle balls back and forth with paddles over a net. Courts are available throughout the US and Canada in recreation centers, parks, schools, etc.
In addition to its growing popularity among casual players in the US, MLPs are becoming an attractive investment opportunity for professional athletes – Super Bowl champion Drew Brees was one of the first to join the league,Share in a team over the summer.