• Loading stock data...
Monday, July 22, 2024
Join us this September for Tuned In Request to Attend

Former MLB Senior Execs Team Up To Bring Pickleball to Big-League Ballparks

  • Newly finalized Ballpark Series to bring fast-growing sport to Fenway Park, Oracle Park, and Coors Field.
  • Effort led by former MLBAM president and CEO Bob Bowman and Mike Dee, who held senior roles with the Red Sox, Padres.
Former MLB executive Mike Dee is bringing pickleball to major league ballparks.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of former Major League Baseball senior executives are returning this summer to big-league ballparks – but with pickleball.

Mike Dee, who previously held senior-level business roles with the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox, and former MLB Advanced Media president and chief executive Bob Bowman are bringing their Pickeball4America to three MLB stadiums in July and August.

The newly formed entity, operating with the consumer-facing brand Pickle4, will stage its Ballpark Series at Fenway Park in Boston on July 13-16, San Francisco’s Oracle Park on July 20-23, and Denver’s Coors Field on August 3-6.

Rather than competing directly against other professional leagues in the fast-growing sport, Pickleball4America has developed a hybrid format for its events combining both amateur and professional play, tapping heavily into the recreational element that still represents pickleball’s foundation. The Ballpark Series will include multiple ways for amateur players to participate.

“We’re focused on the growth of the game overall with a primary concentration on that amateur player,” said Dee, Pickleball4America’s chairman. “This is still an amateur-driven growth sport. Not since running in the 1970s has anything captivated the country like this in terms of mass numbers, interest, and ubiquitous appeal across all demographics.”

Dee – who also had prior stints as Miami Dolphins chief executive and president of sports for radio platform Audacy – and Bowman were joined in Pickleball4America’s founding by Steve Shanks, chief executive and co-founder of media buying agency Ad Results Media. The organization has raised nearly $8 million in initial funding, with additional backers including venture capital firm Drive by DraftKings and Boston Seed Capital, among others.

For Bowman, the effort also extends a return to sports business after his abrupt departure from MLB in 2017. 

In a separate endeavor, temporary pickleball courts are also coming to San Diego’s Petco Park. 

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

A’s Stadium Site Demolition Begins, but Many Questions Remain

Questions remain regarding each of the three main components of the ballpark financing.

St. Pete Approves $1.3 Billion Rays Stadium, Ending Relocation Rumors

St. Petersburg’s city council formally approves the MLB club’s $1.3 billion stadium plan.

MLB Attendance and Ratings on the Rise at Midway Point

MLB will enter the season’s second half with gains in attendance and national TV viewership.

Braves’ Bold Plans, Political Backdrop Shape All-Star Game Prep

The Braves plan a series of upgrades to Truist Park while looking to avoid dwelling on state politics.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

WNBA ASG, Paris Olympics Continue Rise of Women’s Basketball


Featured Today

July 20, 2024

The Road to the Return of ‘EA Sports College Football’

This summer, the biggest development in college sports is virtual.
Apr 15, 2024; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Caitlin Clark poses with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected with the number one overall pick to the Indiana Fever during the 2024 WNBA Draft at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
July 16, 2024

Women’s Sports Merch Is a $4 Billion Market, but Supply Isn’t Meeting Demand

Retailers can’t make women’s sports apparel fast enough.
Jan 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium.
July 14, 2024

Without Hard-Line Bans, Pro Athletes and Personnel Will Keep Betting on Sports

Penalties often aren’t stringent or consistent enough to deter banned behavior.

After World Cup Buzz, Major League Cricket Finds Its Footing in the U.S.

Attendance is tracking to potentially surpass the 70,000 fans from last year.
July 18, 2024

WNBA Appears Set to Extend Season to 44 Games in 2025

The Chicago Sky told season-ticket holders they ‘expect approval’ for change.
July 18, 2024

Open Championship CEO Raises Alarm Over Golf’s Financial Future

The Open Championship is offering a record $17 million purse.

TopSpin 2K25 Brings the Legends of Tennis to Your Living Room

2K sports is reviving a classic with TopSpin 2K25.
July 18, 2024

Loyal WNBA Fans Hit With Enormous Season-Ticket Price Hikes

Some season-ticket holders are seeing their prices doubled.
July 17, 2024

NBA’s Blockbuster Rights Deal Faces Uncertainty, Potential Legal Threats

League commissioner Adam Silver says many of the next steps are ‘out of my control.’
July 17, 2024

Pulling Back the Curtain on the NFL’s $25 Billion Revenue Dream

NFL teams received $402.3 million in payments from the league.
July 17, 2024

What the WNBA’s Windfall Could Mean for Player Salaries

The WNBA could hit its first million-dollar annual salary as soon as 2026.