Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady and former tennis world number one Kim Clijsters have become owners of an expansion Major League Pickleball (MLP) team, joining the NBA’s LeBron James and Draymond Green in as investors in this growing sport.
Brady and Clijsters are part of a group led by Knighthead Capital Management.
The MLP will grow from 12 teams to 16 next season, with the number of events doubling from three to six and the total prize pool expected to top $2 million.
“Of course I’m delighted with this investment opportunity,” Belgium’s Clijsters, who has won four Grand Slam singles titles, said on Wednesday.
“But what excites me most about becoming an MLP owner is that I can help shape the future of pickleball, a sport I love so much…I’m thrilled to help introduce professional pickleball and to have an impact on the sport.”
Invented in 1965, pickleball is a fast-paced paddle sport similar to tennis and badminton, although played on a smaller court with a net using a perforated plastic ball.
A Sports and Fitness Industry Association report released in February said it was the fastest growing sport in the United States with more than 4.8 million participants in the country and growth of nearly 40% over the past two years.
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