Inaugural edition of World Pickleball League announced - Hindustan Times
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Inaugural edition of World Pickleball League announced

PTI |
May 10, 2024 06:47 PM IST

The inaugural edition of the league is likely to be held either towards the end of 2024 or in early 2025.

Former Indian Davis Cupper Gaurav Natekar on Thursday announced the launch of World Pickleball League (WPBL), which will be a collaboration between his company Natekar Sports and Gaming (NSG) and Sony Entertainment Talent Ventures India (SETVI).

The inaugural edition of the league will have six franchises competing for the title.
The inaugural edition of the league will have six franchises competing for the title.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines the elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis but is played on smaller courts compared to tennis.

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The inaugural edition of the league is likely to be held either towards the end of 2024 or in early 2025.

"We are proud to unveil the inaugural global professional pickleball league in India and are excited that SETVI has chosen to invest with us," Natekar was quoted as saying in a press release.

"At NSG, we have always looked to fostering a vibrant sports culture and constantly explore opportunities to grow the sporting ecosystem in India and pickleball has emerged as the perfect embodiment of that ethos."

The inaugural edition of the league will have six franchises competing for the title. Each team will have five to eight players including international stars.

The league will also mandate the teams to have Indian players and junior players who will form a part of the team to rub shoulders and learn from the best players in the world.

"Pickleball has been one of the fastest-growing sports in India since 2008. A professional league like this will only give impetus to the growth of the sport, and having professionals like NSG and SETVI promoting the league gives me confidence that in the next 5 years, our prospective target to get 1 million players engaged in pickleball across the nation is well within our reach," said Arvind Prabhoo, President of All India Pickleball Federation.

Pickleball is played in over 80 countries. India has 30,000 amateur players and 8000 registered players across 18 states.

Speaking about their partnership with NSG, Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO of SETVI said, "Pickleball stands poised for an unprecedented ascent. As brands seek lucrative avenues in sports properties, the soaring popularity of Pickleball promises a mutually beneficial outcome for all stakeholders involved."

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