Major League Pickleball has now chosen cities for its first 12 teams as it gears up for its inaugural season.
The league announced the locations along with the results of Thursday’s 48-player draft, held at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
Each team will comprise two men and two women.
- The West is well represented with three teams in California and two in Texas, plus clubs in Seattle and Cabo.
- The Northeast has star-powered owners, with the New York Hustle owned by LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Draymond Green, and Kevin Love, among others, and Gary Vaynerchuk’s New Jersey 5’s across the Hudson River.
- Milwaukee and Florida round out the first 12 teams.
The 5’s selected 15-year-old Anna Leigh Waters with the first overall pick.
The league will hold its second-tier Challenger Level draft on Monday, which will form 12 additional teams.
While team locations will help establish local identities, they will not determine where teams play or practice during the 2023 season. Instead, the season will be played across six events in five locations in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and California, with a total prize pool of $5 million.
Team locations could come into play if the league eventually assumes a more traditional format in which each team hosts games.