The Professional Pickleball Association (PPA), the professional tour for the sport of picklebal, has inked a long-term partnership with Genius Sports, the official data, technology, and commercial partner that powers the ecosystem connecting sports, betting and media, to drive the global growth of the sport.
This partnership will set the stage for regulated sports betting on PPA events for the first time. Genius Sports has been granted the exclusive rights to capture and distribute live data and video broadcasts from over 1,200 PPA matches per year with its global network of over 150 sportsbook partners.
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, with over three million players in the United States alone. Invented in 1965 in Bainbridge, Washington as a backyard game, pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.
Each PPA event will feature eight courts of live streaming action per day, offering unprecedented broadcast coverage of pickleball. GeniusLive, the award-winning live streaming solution from Genius Sports, will be deployed over the course of the partnership to broadcast this rapidly growing sport with new audiences worldwide.
“It is an honor to be partnering with Genius Sports in this historic production for Pickleball,” says Harry Cicma, PPA Tour Executive Broadcast Producer and CEO of Harry Cicma Productions, who fostered the partnership. “The PPA Tour and Genius Sports are the two leaders in their respective industries, so it is only fitting for the organizations to join forces. The production will be innovative, and it is also exciting for the sports world to have a new professional league in front of an international audience.”
Sean Conroy, commercial director of Genius Sports, says that for more than 20 years Genius Sports has established an incredible track record of driving the growth of sports at every level, providing data-driven technology that connects them with fans around the world.
“Our long-term partnership with the PPA will combine our leading capabilities across live streaming, production, and regulated betting to accelerate their growth and expand their global reach,” he says.
The PPA Tour will feature 16 events across the United States in 2021, offering over $1.5 million in prize money, with expansion to at least 20 events in 2022 and over $2.2 million in prize money. Starting in 2022, the PPA Tour will host major events at the Linder Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati, the Aviva Center in Toronto, and many other venues that have traditionally hosted the biggest events in professional tennis. The PPA Tour features four levels of events: 250s, 500s, 1,000s, and Majors, as well as a full schedule of events for amateur and junior players.
“This is a significant development for the global development of pickleball and the PPA Tour,” adds PPA Commissioner Connor Pardoe. “With this agreement with Genius Sports, pickleball and PPA Tour events will be viewed by more people than ever before. This will further fuel the massive global growth of pickleball, not only from a participation standpoint but, more importantly, by establishing pickleball as a bona fide and exciting spectator sport.”