Drew Brees No. 9 of New Orleans Saints
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Retired NFL superstar Drew Breeze is the latest major figure in the sport to jump on the pickleball craze.
On Thursday, Major League Pickleball announced that the one-time Super Bowl champion has joined the Austin, Texas ownership group.Pickleball Club Mad Drops.“
The group also includes a venture company Good Alpha IndustriesLos Angeles Lakers co-owner Jim Bass and Ryan Serhant of Bravo’s New York Million Dollar Listing.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I am an avid pickleball player, fan and learner of the game,” said Brees, who played 20 years in the NFL. “I look forward to helping raise awareness of the incredible players and competition in MLP, helping pickleball grow and overall fan engagement,” he added.
Brees, who retired from football after the 2020 season, spent last season working for NBC Sports as an analyst before the two sides parted ways. In the past, the former New Orleans Saints quarterback joked about “joining the pickleball tour,” but his latest move came at a time when the sport was experiencing explosive growth.
The pandemic has given the sport a significant boost as people have looked for socially distant ways to be active and social. Today, about 5 million people play pickleball across the country. USA Pickleballl. The sport has grown by 39% over the past two years, making it the fastest growing sport in America. Sports Fitness Industry Association.
The sport has also attracted a number of high-profile players, from billionaire Melinda Gates to celebrities Ellen DeGeneres, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Kardashian family.
Major League Pickleball was created by founder and CEO Steve Kuhn in 2021. The league league is made up of 12 teams of professional pickleball players who play in a collaborative format. In addition to the former Super Bowl winning quarterback, Major League Pickleball also has other notable owners such as entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, Milwaukee Bucks owner Mark Lasry, and former professional tennis player James Blake.
“The talented and passionate group of Mad Drops PC owners will further elevate our competition and athletes, furthering our goal of making pickleball the most exciting sport in the world,” Kuhn said in a statement.
Disclosure: NBC Sports and CNBC are part of NBCUniversal.