Tennis Channel said it will be launching a pickleball channel as part of a deal to form a joint venture with the Professional Pickleball Association.
As part of the arrangement Tennis Channel, owned by Sinclair, will be airing most of the PPA Tour matches on its platforms, will serve as the PPA’s media arm handling integrated ad sales efforts, and will produce all events for the PPA Tour.
The upcoming standalone channel will be called Pickleballtv and will start out as a free, ad-supported streaming TV channel. Eventually, there will also be an on-demand service featuring live and previously played matches.
Sinclair Ventures has an option to invest in the parent company of the PPA tour as part of the deal.
“This is an exciting moment in the ongoing evolution of the Carvana PPA Tour,” Tom Dundon, owner of Pickleball.com and the Professional Pickleball Association, said. “There’s no company in the world that’s as well positioned as Tennis Channel to immediately capitalize and expand upon the current pickleball explosion and the early success of the PPA Tour. Their model is unique in sportscasting, and we couldn’t be happier to work with them to develop a consistent, reliable home for current pickleball fans and others to come.”
Tennis Channel and PPA said they will work to combine the tour’s year-long premier pickleball competition and the network’s media infrastructure to maximize the PPA Tour’s leverage while increasing the popularity of and participation in the sport in the United States and abroad.
“Tom and (PPA Tour CEO Connor Pardoe) and their teams have created the gold standard in pickleball,” Tennis Channel president Ken Solomon said. “The future of any sport is driven by its media approach. Tennis Channel has spent two decades streamlining the sheer volume of tennis, its tours and its schedules in an easy-to-follow system across popular platforms. Now we’re going to apply that same hub-and-spoke model to show people how compelling pickleball and its stars are at the professional level.”
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.