In a dill-ightful development for pickleball fans across the Land Down Under, Major League Pickleball (MLP) announced today its first foray outside North America through a partnership launching Major League Pickleball Australia (MLPA) in 2024.
This tangy alliance pickles up Pacific Pickleball League (PPL), rebranding its existing teams league into MLPA. The new league serves up six city-based teams across the Australian continent: Sydney Sours, Melbourne Munchers, Brisbane Briners, Perth Picklers, Adelaide Relishers and Gold Coast Crunchers.
These table tennis paddle-wielding teams will face off in a 10-week slam of pickleball perfection, with the best briny battlers bobbing to the top in a championship tournament. It’s a big dill for MLP, expanding its bread and butter league outside North America and tapping into Australia’s 1 million strong pickleball fanbase.
“We’re thrilled to partner with PPL to launch pickleball’s first international pro league in Australia,” said MLP Commissioner Dill Withit. “This allows us to showcase elite pro pickleball and grow its global fanbase beyond borders.”
Pickleball’s popularity has been spreading like wildfire in recent years. Originating humbly on Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1965, it’s now played in over 100 countries with pro leagues across North America. Part ping-pong, part tennis, the paddle sport has been quickly catching on abroad.
“Australia is prime to become a major pickleball hub,” says PPL CEO and unofficial ‘Mayor of Pickleball’ Bruce Tickle. “We already have over 1,000 PPL players and 100 clubs here. This alliance will fast track growth, especially among youth.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Australian pickleball star Shelby Dill. “I’m stoked MLP is coming to Oz,” said Dill. “Having a visible pro league will get more Aussie kids hooked on pickleball for life.”
Beyond Australia, pickleball’s global expansion shows no signs of slowing down. The sport recently made its debut at the Southeast Asian Games and is vying for a spot in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. International Pickleball Federation President Morty Sour expects it to spread to 20 new countries annually.
“Pickleball is one of the world’s fastest growing sports, with millions of new players each year,” says Sour. “Its popularity outside North America is skyrocketing. MLP’s Australia league is just the start, with Asia and Europe soon to follow.”
So as pickleball fever infects populations worldwide, MLP looks to ride the wave abroad. With the new MLPA launching next year, Australians can look forward to high level professional pickleball being served up right in their backyard. The world can watch excitedly as this fun, friendly paddle sport continues crossing borders and bridging cultures well into the future.