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0:00 know how I got you in my Pocky spot yeah 0:03 this B me you every day you like my 0:05 oygen make it seem like the bar them got 0:08 my heart no barging in from the to the 0:09 flow to the couch might wait the 0:11 neighbors up you and break you out in 0:14 the end we going to make a 0:16 [Music] 0:17 CH my name is Michael Chen and I'm one 0:20 of the co-founders of npl and I picked 0:22 up the game of pickle ball because it 0:24 was the only game you play outside when 0:25 Co happened right you play golf or pick 0:27 a ball I learned pick a ball I just got 0:29 a dicted the game of pib I loved it and 0:31 I met two of the best players in the 0:34 country named Rick Witkin and Beth 0:36 Bellamy and they were thinking about how 0:39 to build a a business around senior pros 0:42 and I decided Well given my strategy my 0:44 background at NBC and GE that I might be 0:47 able to help them well I think they kind 0:49 of tricked me instead of me just 0:50 advising them how to build business I'm 0:52 now the full-time partner a co-founder 0:54 and I actually head up doing all the 0:56 pickle ball business part of this league 0:58 our goal is to create a league with 1:00 teams in different cities and we create 1:02 communities so that people can build 1:04 them out on the communities and have an 1:05 event like here at chicken and pickle to 1:07 really compete among the best 1:09 professional pball players together I'm 1:11 also a player so I'm not only the 1:13 co-founder but I'm also a client of the 1:15 National pickall League I'm in the big 1:17 leag Miss 1:20 like like Whitney Rick Witkin co-founder 1:23 of the npl player on the Indie drivers 1:26 hi I'm best bam I'm a co-founder of the 1:28 npl as well we had 1:30 idea to start it but I mean if our 1:33 amazing team owners hadn't Steed up and 1:35 also believed in this 1:36 idea we wouldn't be anywhere and then 1:38 just the support we've had from the 1:40 other Champions pros and players I mean 1:42 they didn't even know like they're kind 1:44 of like what's npl you know and they 1:45 still took a chance I think they trusted 1:47 us that you know we were top players and 1:50 that we might have been on to something 1:52 and they also thought you know that 1:54 sounds kind of fun I'd like to be on the 1:55 team and see what that's about I mean 1:57 it's one thing to believe in ourselves 2:00 it's another thing along the journey to 2:02 have different companies and people 2:05 nurture you with their support I think 2:07 of Ken Julian who's on the Indie drivers 2:10 and he is a player that has Parkinson's 2:12 disease and he's a phenomenal athlete 2:14 and he stepped up and paid $10,000 for 2:18 our draft party like we didn't really 2:20 have money to do that at that point in 2:21 time you're 50 years or older put your 2:24 hat in the ring you know time's not 2:26 always on our side and we have combines 2:28 to see if you're at that level or not 2:31 it's okay if you go to a combine and you 2:32 get to learn the whole atmosphere of 2:35 what the npl is honestly the spiritual 2:38 vibe that we had in that first combine 2:40 was off the charts like everybody and we 2:42 people from Australia and Singapore we 2:44 just kind of knew that there was a 2:45 little bit something better out there 2:47 that we could create and there are 2:48 honestly Communications between 2:50 ourselves and other players we're like 2:52 hey we need to kind of create something 2:53 for ourselves we know it's here to stay 2:55 and the money's not going to vacillate 2:57 up and down and we know what we're going 2:59 to get so I think that those 3:00 conversations with Beth and I kind of 3:02 cultivated this initiative and we got to 3:05 give credit to our partner Michael who 3:07 talked about the team format too I think 3:09 we really thought um it would be fun to 3:11 be in a team like we used to be in 3:13 college Rick was at College All American 3:16 I played college tennis before I turned 3:17 Pro um played at USC and um we just had 3:21 seen MLP and we're like kind of like 3:23 well that looks really fun why isn't 3:25 somebody doing that for us and they're 3:27 like nobody was going to do it so we're 3:29 like we can try it and we just trusted 3:32 each other and had the opportunity to do 3:34 this so along with our partner we just 3:36 thought let's let's give it to go and I 3:39 think I've said you know if we knew what 3:40 we were getting into we may not have 3:42 done it so I'm glad we did didn't know 3:44 everything but I'm so glad that we 3:46 didn't know because it's been a very 3:47 worthwhile 3:48 [Music] 3:52 Venture I'm Bob strowman I'm the owner 3:55 of the Naples jbb United npl Team uh 3:59 we're here in Glendale Arizona for the 4:02 npl Championships the the culmination of 4:05 our entire season this is not the NFL 4:09 this is not the ABA you know this is 4:12 this is a startup professional League 4:14 jbb United stands for the initials of 4:18 the founders of pickle ball Joel 4:20 Pritchard Barney mcallum and Bill Bell 4:23 so and our tagline is where Legacy is 4:27 honored and we're here to honor the 4:29 legacy of the game and have uh 50 and 4:32 over players and so to say you're a team 4:36 owner sounds really cool uh and it is 4:38 kind of cool but it's not like you're 4:41 having NFL and we're talking about 4:43 billion dollar revenues but you have the 4:46 whole mechanics of having a combine and 4:49 a draft and selecting players and 4:51 developing a culture within your team 4:54 and then competition and and trying to 4:57 keep everyone happy but also to win 4:59 we've discovered is pickleball is a 5:02 mainstream well recognized sport that is 5:06 showing up in TV commercials and 5:08 advertisers and and in so many different 5:11 venues that pickle Ball's here to stay 5:14 and there are two leagues right now uh 5:17 one that's called the major league 5:19 pickle ball and then we have the 5:21 national pickle ball league and they 5:23 really represent the two different age 5:24 groups kind of like the PGA PGA has the 5:27 young guys and then the champions tour 5:29 and that's kind of where we fit we're 5:31 part of the champions tour and I think 5:33 this is a uh you're right we are the 5:36 ground C the NFL started somehow uh the 5:39 baseball league started somehow I was 5:41 the first team to jump on the bandwagon 5:44 so to speak with npl and all six of the 5:47 founding teams said we want to be on the 5:51 ground floor and we want to be part of 5:52 the legacy of the growth I I started 5:55 playing pickleball and got exposed to 5:56 pick ball only four years ago so I went 5:59 for from not knowing the game to 6:02 starting to play a little bit to buying 6:05 and owning the U Naples pickleball 6:08 Center in in the pickall capital of the 6:10 world in Naples and then buying a team 6:12 all within a four-year period of time 6:14 and I've gotten to know people uh the 6:16 relationships you develop names that 6:18 you've heard about for years at the 6:21 senior level you now they become friends 6:24 and it is I don't care how you cut and 6:26 dice any kind of Enterprise it's the 6:28 people you get to meet and the 6:30 relationships you develop that are so 6:32 fun and then watching this thing evolve 6:34 and grow to be something really 6:36 significant my name is Carol rolls and I 6:39 am co-owner of the OKC punishers with my 6:41 husband Doug being an owner actually 6:44 really means a lot to me npl Embraces 6:47 all of the qualities that I just spoke 6:48 of the strength the unity the kindness 6:51 the love the consideration the 6:52 camaraderie all those things um they are 6:57 one big family every time I come back 6:58 here it's like like a giant family 7:00 reunion we are tough on the courts it's 7:02 competitive on the courts and that's how 7:04 the whole league is so strong that's how 7:07 we roll I I told my players before today 7:09 we had a buy yesterday cuz we finished 7:11 second in the regular season and so we 7:13 had a buy and I said you know what it's 7:16 pickle ball go have fun yes we want to 7:20 win but go have fun this is about the 7:23 joy of the 7:25 sport my name is Peter klingsheim and 7:28 I'm the coach for the OKC punishers 7:30 working with Carol is fantastic just 7:31 love Carol but just the opportunity to 7:33 be a part of npl in a different way 7:35 because the thing for me is I'm 40 years 7:37 old so I'm a little too old to be 19 7:40 plus and play in in the young league but 7:43 I'm also not 50 so for me to be a part 7:46 of npl and to have a coaching 7:48 opportunity is a great way for me to be 7:49 involved and develop the team it's being 7:52 able to walk players through what I call 7:54 Court IQ understanding the movement on a 7:57 court you can learn shots you can you 8:00 can develop and grow shots but 8:02 understanding the dynamic of how to move 8:04 on a court so much different than tennis 8:06 it's so much different than um racket 8:07 ball it's it's it's it's entirely 8:09 different sport and so just having the 8:11 years of experience that I have in 8:13 pickle ball gives me the ability to 8:15 teach them you know here's when we stay 8:17 back here's when we move forward here's 8:18 how we move as a team and that's really 8:20 one of the biggest things I think 8:22 working with all the different um all 8:24 four different pods all all the players 8:26 on a team right cuz they're all going to 8:28 have their own strength their own 8:28 weakness but learning to play together 8:31 as a team cuz like you say they don't 8:33 play together normally they're from all 8:34 around the country so I have a small 8:36 window of time to get them to work 8:39 together to really mesh to just Jive as 8:42 a team and that's what I really strive 8:44 for how do we work on a court together 8:45 how do we really function as a team in 8:47 the short amount of time we 8:51 have my name's um Jennifer Dawson and 8:54 I'm here playing in the npl I'm having a 8:57 blast being here I've been playing 8:58 pickleball probably probably for about 9 9:00 or 10 years now I'm probably one of the 9:02 veterans my husband and I own a club in 9:04 enus California Bobby rigs uh Racket and 9:08 paddle um that club started out as a 9:11 tennis club with only tennis and we had 9:14 some people that came um to our club and 9:17 wanted to just rent a few courts um 9:19 couple of hours a week uh to play pickle 9:22 ball and once they started doing that my 9:25 husband started playing fell in love 9:27 with it gave up tennis right away 9:29 um and then my kids started playing and 9:32 then I started and we've had a blast 9:34 ever since I was a tennis player all my 9:37 life started when I was age seven played 9:39 junior tennis uh in southern cal um and 9:43 around the country um got a full R 9:46 scholarship to University San Diego 9:48 played number one uh singles and doubles 9:50 for them pickleball is growing like 9:53 crazy I mean it is so popular and PE 9:57 just clubs are coming up everywhere 10:00 public courts private clubs um 10:03 homeowners associations um just more and 10:06 more people are falling in love with 10:07 pickle ball and at at our club we went 10:10 from a tennis club to 100% pickle ball 10:13 so now we have 22 pick ball courts um 10:17 and the age range is unreal a ton of 20 10:21 year olds 30 year olds 40 year olds 50y 10:23 olds all the way up my mom who's 81 10:26 plays 6 days a week at the club um and 10:29 is having a 10:31 blast my name is CJ Hoy and I'm the 10:33 pickle ball manager here in Glendale 10:35 Arizona chicken and pickle is the number 10:36 one entertainment in the entire nation 10:39 we are so lucky to have the MPL for 10:40 their inaugural season and it's been a 10:42 great experience I think for all of us 10:44 throughout the nation all of the 10:45 different properties that they've 10:47 experienced it's just been a great great 10:49 time for 10:50 [Music] 10:53 everybody so in 2024 we're going to grow 10:56 from six teams to 10 to 12 teams in 10:58 different cities I and we're going to 11:00 have more than 100 players this year we 11:01 had about 108 players professionals we 11:04 probably have about 160 170 players and 11:06 the sad thing I think there's going to 11:08 be like 500 more players that want to 11:09 play in this league unfortunately we 11:11 don't won't a draft everyone but 11:13 there'll be a draft in April so people 11:15 that will like to play league will try 11:17 out in March with a combine we'll do a 11:19 draft and hopefully we'll draft some of 11:21 the top players but unfortunately we 11:22 can't draft everyone we are so thankful 11:24 and grateful for the support of our 11:26 community um and that I think next year 11:29 it's going to be even bigger and better 11:30 and um potentially more teams and 11:34 definitely more players and so it's like 11:37 we feel like we're in a really good 11:39 place

They’re in a league of their own, y’all. The National Pickleball League (NPL), launched with six pro pickleball teams less than a year ago, already has a full season of competing under its belt, traveling from coast-to-coast with standing-room only crowds cheering on their hometown favorites as if they were the local high school football team about to score on the one-yard line with three seconds left to win the Homecoming game. But this is pickleball, folks, and NPL’s pro players represent the 50+ demo. Founded by former world tennis champions Beth Bellamy and Rick Witsken, and NBC exec Michael Chen, NPL is oozing with competitive spirit, executive leadership and organizational drive that younger pro leagues can’t match – but that’s OK. NPL is so cool, they won’t hold age and inexperience against leagues serving younger demographics, like MLP.


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