The tour wars are officially back. After a very brief armistice, it sounds like MLP and the PPA are in the thick of it once again. MLP released news on Thursday that they were in the process of signing top players to multi-year, guaranteed contracts. The announcement came somewhat out of nowhere and signaled that the game was back on.
The PPA mentioned at some point on their broadcast for the Kansas City Open there would be an announcement on Friday, which sounds like it is going to be the re-birth of the defunct Vibe Pickleball League that was quickly scrapped following the announcement of the merger between MLP and the PPA last year.
We know things have never been sunshine and roses despite the apparent merger between the PPA and MLP, but this is definitely unexpected news. Considering that the PPA became the first organization to open up the sports betting market to pro pickleball on Thursday, it felt like the announcement from MLP was a direct response to things already happening behind the scenes.
The fractured state of pro pickleball could now be back in an even bigger way than before. We are hearing that it may be more than just a small handful of players that are putting pen to paper with MLP and are signing written agreements. As has been the case since Tom Dundon acquired the PPA and pushed for exclusive contracts, things appear to be happening at an incredibly rapid pace right now with pro players being forced to make big decisions.
The last couple of years as a pro pickleball fan have been a roller coaster and it’s time to buckle up yet again. Things are happening. There will be a lot more to discuss in the coming days.