Pickleball set for expansion with World Series

New Delhi, Mar 4 (PTI) A fusion of tennis, table tennis and badminton that has taken the USA by storm, Pickleball is set to have its own World Series, comprising six major events every year and featuring players from across the globe, including India.

The series, which is in the planning stage, has got a fillip in India with the Times Group partnering with Pickleball Asia for the series.

“The World Series will start in the Unites States and travel across different continents with six major events in a year,” read a statement from the Times Group.  “In the first year, the Pickleball World Series will comprise of 64 players in the individual format and six teams comprising four players each, from the US and the rest of the world, including India – which is the rising hotspot for Pickleball,” it added.

Pickleball has grown exponentially in the US since coming into existence in 1965 as a backyard game for bored children in Washington. It’s invention is credited to Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum.

In 2022, it was named the official sport of Washington and has attracted investments from the likes of NBA superstar LeBron James. According to some estimates, there are over four million pickleball players in the US.

Pickleball looks quite similar to tennis except that players use paddles instead of racquets. A pickleball court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and the net height is 36 inches on the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle.

“Pickleball is gaining ground as the game for urban sports enthusiasts…we hope that this effort to take the fastest growing modern sport to the next level will inspire its exponential growth all over the world including in India,” said Times Group Managing Director Vineet Jain.

“I personally believe that in five to seven years, Pickleball will overtake Tennis in terms of participation.” Times Group CEO (New Media and Investments), N Subramanian added, “The Pickleball World Series, our marquee event, will provide a unique platform to bring out the best in players and teams, for fans to enjoy and support their favourites, and for brands to engage and interact with these audiences.” Pickleball Asia’s Pranav Kohli, who also founded Pickleball United, said the sport has a player community of 60 million right now and it will only grow in the coming years.

“The Series will be supported by Pickleball World Rankings, a one-of-a-kind ranking system that allows players to accumulate points and qualify for the Pickleball World Series. We expect this will enable Pickleball stars to rise from different corners of the world and not just from the US,” he said.

Source: PTI News


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