ESPN Nets Professional Pickleball Association Team Championships Event

(Image credit: ESPN)

ESPN will serve up the December 18 Professional Pickleball Association Team Championships on ABC, the company said Wednesday.

The first-ever PPA Tour bubly Team Championships event will feature the finals of the four-team tournament, which includes a series of doubles matches to determine the final two teams, according to ESPN. The tournament will take place in Las Vegas.

Billed as one of the fastest growing sports in the country, Pickleball -- a mashup of tennis, badminton and table tennis -- is played by more than 5 million active players in the U.S. alone, according to ESPN.

Also: Murray Bartlett, Kelly Rowland, Daniel Dae Kim Suit Up for CBS Pickleball Special

“We are thrilled to offer fans coverage of the PPA’s inaugural bubly Team Championships and give them an opportunity to watch what has become one of the country’s fastest growing sports,” said Tim Bunnell, ESPN senior VP of programming. “Our commitment is to serve sports fans anytime, anywhere with innovative content, and we are excited to be part of this sport’s growth trajectory.”

Added PPA Commissioner Connor Pardoe: “The PPA Tour has a fantastic partner in ESPN, and we’re very excited to showcase our sport at the national level. We look forward to working together to tell the story of this exciting event and growing the fanbase of pickleball across the world.” ■

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.