**Pickleball League Requests Player Compensation Reductions**
*Major League Pickleball (MLP) seeking to cut player salaries by 40% in exchange for lighter work load*
The rapid growth of professional pickleball may be headed for a reality check as the Major League Pickleball (MLP) has requested its players to agree to compensation reductions of 40% in exchange for a reduction of work obligations. This bold move was revealed in an email obtained by CNBC.
**Economic Realities and League Proposal**
The league’s executives detailed their rationale behind this proposal in the email, stating, “We have carefully studied the economics of the business and determined that certain changes need to be made to ensure a sustainable and viable business that will not only survive but thrive in 2024 and beyond for the benefit of all stakeholders.” The proposal specifically asks players to reduce their number of annual work days from 200 to 120 and indicates that their salaries would be cut proportionally.
**Guarantees and Operational Changes**
Players who do consent to the proposal will be guaranteed a minimum of 10 slots in PPA events. Additionally, the league has announced that it will cut operational and event-related costs for 2024 and revealed that it has parted ways with Commissioner Brooks Wiley. This comes after the departure of founder Steve Kuhn in October.
The news of these pay reductions was first reported by the Dink Pickleball. MLP and PPA have both declined to comment on the matter. This development in the professional pickleball industry is noteworthy as the sport has experienced rapid growth in nearly every category. Both MLP and PPA are also on the brink of signing a merger agreement.
**Mixed Reactions among Players**
Reactions among professional pickleball players have been mixed, with some expressing concerns about potential anti-trust issues. The players’ union has been discussing collective bargaining options in light of these proposals. However, some players, like two-time Major League Pickleball champion Thomas Wilson, have expressed support for the cuts, stating that players are still being paid fairly.
**Bright Future Amid Challenges**
Despite these challenges, Laura Vossberg Gainor, founder of a pickleball marketing agency, remains optimistic about the future of the sport. She highlighted the intensifying off-court rivalry among brands vying to secure top players for product endorsements, indicating the increasing value of players’ personal brands.
In conclusion, despite the current turbulence in the professional pickleball industry, there is consensus among stakeholders that the long-term sustainability and growth of the sport should be the top priority.