Monday December 4, 2023

Osaka, Mahomes Among New Pickleball Investors

  • The team will reportedly be based in Miami.
  • Nick Kyrgios and Rich Paul are also reportedly a part of the ownership group.
Naomi Osaka pumps fist and smiles after winning a point
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Naomi Osaka and Patrick Mahomes are taking after other star athletes by joining Major League Pickleball.

The pair are reportedly set to invest in a new MLP team based in Miami. Tennis star Nick Kyrgios, sports agent Rich Paul, and Soichiro Minami and Matthew Prizker are also expected to invest in the team, which will begin play next year.

The size of the investment isn’t known, but Forbes reported that the expansion fee for other recent deals was between $1 million and $3 million. MLP could not be reached for comment when contacted by Front Office Sports.

MLP had eight teams for its inaugural 2021 season, 12 teams for 2022, and is set to add 12 more in 2023. The low prices have attracted other athletes.

  • The investment firm founded by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman — Thirty Five Ventures — purchased an expansion team in October. 
  • The same month, Tom Brady and Kim Clijsters joined an ownership group buying a team.
  • A group including LeBron James, Draymond Green and Kevin Love purchased a team in September.
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An announcement on the investment is expected on Thursday. 

Sport Switch

An MLP franchise won’t be the first sports team in Osaka or Mahomes’ portfolio.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Mahomes, who Forbes estimates makes $51.5 million, has stakes in MLS’ Sporting Kansas City and MLB’s Kansas City Royals.

Osaka, who Forbes estimates makes $55 million, is an owner of the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage.

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