Hugs! Association of Pickleball Professionals seals broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports – Deadline

In the latest sign of maturing for a quirky but fast-growing racquet sport, the Association of Pickleball Professionals has inked broadcast deals with CBS Sports and ESPN.

The pacts cover hundreds of hours of APP Tour pickleball programming in 2023, including 12 hours of live games and highlights on CBS Sports Network, eight hours of recaps on ESPN2 and more than 200 hours of live coverage on ESPN+. The league will also have coverage on its own outlet, APP TV.

The APP is one of a handful of new professional outfits aiming to capitalize on the growing interest in the sport, which combines elements of tennis, table tennis and squash. LeBron James, Tom Brady and Kevin Durant recently announced investments in Major League Pickleball, which competes with the APP as well as the Professional Pickleball Association. Recreational players have flocked to the sport by the millions, encouraged by the fact that it does not require an intense amount of physical effort. Meanwhile, those who live near pickleball courts — which are replacing traditional tennis courts in some parts of the country — have become increasingly uneasy about the resounding “thwack” made by rackets hitting balls.

“We are excited to welcome CBS Sports and ESPN to the APP and are excited to work with two of the most significant names in sports media to bring the sport of pickleball to fans across the country,” said Tom Webb, APP’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Over 36.5 million Americans played pickleball in 2022, and this media package enables those fans to tune in to our world-class tournaments and introduces the sport and its best players to millions more.”

APP’s fourth season kicked off this month in Punta Gorda, FL, with an event featuring 720 professional and amateur pickleball players from across the United States and the world. The 2023 APP Tour continues with the APP Daytona Beach Open in February.

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