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Professional pickleball signs international agreement, aims to expand the sport’s presence in India.

Pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in America, is now setting its sights on India. In a groundbreaking move, the United Pickleball Association (UPA) and Global Sports have announced a partnership to expand the presence of pickleball in the world’s most populous country. This marks the first international agreement for the UPA and signifies a major milestone for the sport.

The UPA was formed after the merger of Major League Pickleball (MLP) and the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) in February of last year. Despite the merger, both the PPA Tour and MLP retained their own distinct brands. The PPA Tour features an individual bracket-style tour, while MLP follows a team-based format.

Details of the agreement between the UPA and Global Sports have not been disclosed, but it is expected to bring significant opportunities for players in India. The PPA Tour India and MLP India will provide a pathway for Indian players to compete on the international stage and reach the pinnacle of the sport. With the support of Global Sports, pickleball will be introduced to millions of new fans in India.

As part of the partnership, the PPA Tour will make its official tour stop in India next February. The Indian Open event will be the debut PPA Tour event in Asia and is set to attract players from all over the world. This presents a tremendous opportunity for Indian players to showcase their skills and compete against some of the best pickleball players globally.

Additionally, the agreement will launch PPA Tour India, which will offer ranking points to players at various events across the country. This will help in identifying and nurturing talent within India and provide a platform for players to improve their skills and climb up the rankings.

MLP, the team-based league, will also organize a competition in India featuring a mix of Indian players and professionals from MLP and PPA Tour. This will create a unique opportunity for Indian players to learn from and compete alongside some of the top players in the sport.

Looking ahead, the UPA has plans to sell MLP franchises through an open process. The goal is to launch a full 12-team season in India by 2025-26. Franchises are expected to have a significant price tag, with estimates in the seven-figure range.

The expansion of pickleball into India is not an isolated effort. Major League Pickleball recently announced its expansion into Australia, while the APP Tour has been active in bringing the sport to countries like India, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Sweden. Global Sports, a key player in introducing pickleball to India, operates courts and organizes tournaments in the country.

Shashank Khaitan, a partner at Global Sports, expressed his excitement about the partnership, stating that it will provide existing players in India with a platform to compete at the highest level. The growth of pickleball in India over the past few years has been remarkable, and this agreement will further fuel its popularity and development.

With pickleball’s expansion into India, the sport is set to captivate a whole new audience and create opportunities for aspiring players in the country. As the UPA and Global Sports work together to bring pickleball to new heights in India, it is clear that the sport’s global presence is continuing to grow rapidly.

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