Former Tennis Star Gaurav Natekar announces the inaugural edition of the World Pickleball League

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World Pickleball League

The World Pickleball League (WPL), a first-of-its-kind global professional pickleball league, has been announced by Natekar Sports and Gaming (NSG), a company owned and promoted by former India number 1 Tennis star and Arjuna Awardee, Gaurav Natekar. This announcement marks a significant milestone in the evolution of pickleball, a racquet sport that combines elements of table tennis, badminton, and tennis.

All you need to know about the World Pickleball League

The WPL is backed by Sony Entertainment Talent Ventures India (SETVI), a joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment. NSG plans to invest over $10 million over the next 3-5 years in India and the APAC countries, heralding a new era for the sport.

Pickleball, known for its accessibility and appeal to all ages ranging from 5 to 70 years old, is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, with over five million players across 84 countries. The WPL aims to propel pickleball into the international spotlight, offering a compelling fusion of sports, fun, and entertainment that will captivate players, brands, and fans alike, worldwide.

With a multi-country licensing agreement of ten years with the All India Pickleball Association (AIPA), affiliated with the International Pickleball Federation (IPF), the WPL is a major step towards the international expansion of pickleball. The league plans to develop the sport bottom-up, from grassroots to professional and competitive levels.

The WPL aims to reach over 30 million households and engage middle- and upper-middle-class segments across the country to harness the social and community-building aspects of pickleball, making it a popular athleisure activity that brings people together. The inaugural edition of the WPL will witness six franchises compete for the title. Each team will have five to eight players including international stars.

The league will also mandate the teams to have Indian players and junior players who will form a part of the team to rub shoulders and learn from the best players in the world. This initiative could change the future of the sport in the country.

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