• Loading stock data...
Saturday, June 22, 2024
exclusive
Leagues

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. 

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Border War Intensifies: Kansas Makes Swift Move to Lure Chiefs and Royals

A bipartisan supermajority of Kansas legislators approve bonding for new stadiums for the Chiefs and Royals.

MLB’s Rickwood Game Plans Change Significantly After Passing of Mays

The special-event game at the historic Negro League park follows the death of the iconic Willie Mays.

MLB Attendance Continues to Trend Up in the Pitch Clock Era

The pitch clock has helped spike attendance numbers the past two seasons.

Leagues’ Disclosure Demands Add Complexity to DSG’s Bankruptcy Exit

The bankrupt regional sports network operator makes an emergency motion for a discovery conference.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How Women’s Sports Media is Charting Its Own Path

0:00

Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

Clark vs. Reese: Priciest WNBA Game Set for Record-Breaking Viewership

Ticket pricing has already set a league record, while viewership expectations are lofty.
June 20, 2024

Women’s PGA Championship Tees Off With a Big Investment, Record Purse

The Women’s PGA Championship teed off Thursday.
June 20, 2024

Why Michael Johnson’s $30 Million Track League Won’t Have Any Safety Pins

The league also won’t have field events at all.
Sponsored

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
June 19, 2024

U.S. Hosts Copa América: A Milestone in Soccer’s Oldest Tournament

The U.S. hosting of the tournament follows a larger partnership between two major soccer federations.
June 18, 2024

Caitlin Clark Continues to be Enormous Box Office for the WNBA

Sunday’s Fever-Sky game was the most-watched WNBA broadcast in 23 years.
June 18, 2024

Euro 2024 Kicks Off With Record Demand and Streaming Issues

Ten German cities are hosting matches this month.
June 17, 2024

Spring Football’s Future: UFL’s Mixed Results, Ambitious Changes Ahead

“You really need deep pockets,” former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck tells ‘Front Office Sports.’