Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tennis superstar Naomi Osaka are the latest noteworthy sports personalities who don’t want to be left behind regarding the ongoing pickleball craze.
Forbes’ Brett Knight has reported that Mahomes and Osaka are part of an ownership group investing in a new Major League Pickleball team.
That group also includes outspoken men’s tennis star Nick Kyrgios and sports agent Rich Paul, among others.
Knight added that MLP expansion fees have been between $1 million and $3 million. The league originally had eight teams for its 2021 season but then expanded to 12 teams for 2022.
In total, MLP is on track to add another 12 franchises for 2023. Abigail Gentrup of Front Office Sports pointed out that Mahomes has stakes in the Kansas City Royals of MLB and Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer.
The Athletic noted in January 2021 that Osaka joined the ownership group of the North Carolina Courage club which plays in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Previously, NBA stars LeBron James, Draymond Green, and Kevin Love were part of a different group that bought an MLP team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and retired four-time Grand Slam singles champion Kim Clijsters joined an MLP ownership group in October, and it was reported later that month that Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets purchased an MLP expansion team along with business partner Rich Kleiman.
Back in October, ESPN’s Amanda Loudin referred to pickleball as “the hottest up-and-coming sport right now.” For a piece published Wednesday, Katie Baker of The Ringer detailed how pickleball became “the fastest-growing sport in the U.S.” this year.