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Heidi Klum and Eva Longoria Join List of Pickleball Team Celeb Owners

Heidi Klum celeb pickleball league owner

America’s fastest-growing sport over the last two years continues to attract celebrity owners for the Major League Pickleball expansion teams for 2023 including the recent Heidi Klum and Eva Longoria announcement. 

Some of the other celebrity investors include; Tom Brady, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Naomi Osaka, Heidi Klum, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, and Tom Ricketts among others.

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association announced pickleball as the fastest-growing sport, with increased participation by up to 39% between 2019 and 2021. The sport’s governing body, USA Pickleball, says there are approximately 4.8 million pickleball players in the United States and more than 10,000 pickleball courts to play.

“The diversity in the backgrounds and expertise of our fantastic new owners is an incredible asset as we aggressively expand Major League Pickleball to reach more fans than ever.” “We always say pickleball brings people together, and this roster of leaders from across a wide variety of industries is a strong testament to that philosophy. Brian Levine, the interim MLP CEO, said in a news statement.

The newly announced pickleball expansion teams have drafted their co-ed rosters and will start at the Challenger Level in 2023. The 12 previous MLP teams owned by LeBron James, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady, will start at the Premier Level. Last week, those teams drafted the top 48 pro pickleballers. The two sets of teams will then swap leagues for the second half of the 2023 season and have a re-draft with the combined season results determining a team’s level in 2024. The 2024 season will then feature promotion and relegation between the two levels with the Premier Level as the higher tier.

Kevin Durant and his longtime business partner, Rich Kleiman own the team in Brooklyn through their venture fund 35V. The expansion fee for Durant’s franchise is believed to be around $1 million, and fees for other recent franchises were at and exceeded $3 million, according to multiple sources. Naomi Osaka and her agent Stuart Duguid launched their own agency, Evolve, earlier this year. Evolve’s only other client, Nick Kyrgios, also invested, as did Alex Cohen, who serves as a financial advisor to Osaka and, launched his own firm, Heights, in 2021 after more than a dozen years at Main Street Advisors.

“This is not about simply writing a check, it’s about finding the right strategic partners to help us grow MLP and the entire sport of pickleball,” Anne Worcester, MLP’s strategic advisor, and a board member.




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