Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon is uniting two of the major organizations behind a growing sport: pickleball.
The NHL team owner’s Dundon Capital Partners is buying the Pro Pickleball Association and Pickleball Central. The deal for Pickleball Central includes the company’s retail business and the professional event tracking site.
“The sport of pickleball grew by 20% last year and now counts over 4 million participants in the U.S.,” said Pickleball Central CEO and co-founder David Johnson.
“The investment also provides a multi-million dollar commitment to enhance and extend the capabilities of the Pickleball Tournament’s state-of-the-art technology platform,” the company shared in a statement.
- The paddle sport exploded in popularity during the pandemic, particularly among players 65 and older.
- Cities have been building dedicated pickleball courts or allowing players to repurpose tennis courts. Pickleball is played on a 20-by-44-foot court (a tennis court is 36-by-78-feet and can accommodate multiple pickleball games).
Growing Sports Portfolio
Dundon has shown interest in other sports properties. His investment firm holds a stake in Topgolf, and he invested $70 million in the Alliance of American Football, a short-lived pro football league that began play in February 2019.
The AAF only lasted eight weeks before Dundon suspended play. He has since sought to recover his investment following the league’s bankruptcy, claiming that the founders misled him as to how much money was needed to make the league viable.