The pickleball phenomenon is real. The Tennis Channel and the Professional Pickleball Association Tour will launch Pickleballtv, a 24/7 free, ad-supported streaming channel as part of a new joint venture. The Tennis Channel, a sports-focused digital cable and satellite TV network, will also air a majority of live PPA Tour matches on Tennis Channel platforms.
Customers’ appetite for live sports has been on the rise and streaming services have been working to meet demand. Viewers can watch games on platforms like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and ESPN+. In addition, pickleball has seen a drastic uptick in popularity over the last three years.
“The future of any sport is driven by its media approach,” Tennis Channel President Ken Solomon said in a statement. “Tennis Channel has spent two decades streamlining the sheer volume of tennis, its tours and its schedules in an easy-to-follow system across popular platforms. Now we’re going to apply that same hub-and-spoke model to show people how compelling pickleball and its stars are at the professional level.”
Pickleballtv will launch as a free, ad-supported channel but will eventually become a streaming live/video-on-demand service, according to a release from the PPA. The venture also aims to build separate websites and apps dedicated to the tour. Tennis Channel will air a minimum of 100 hours of PPA Tour play on its channel as well as T2, the company’s FAST channel, Tennis Channel Plus, its website and app.
“This is an exciting moment in the ongoing evolution of the Carvana PPA Tour,” Tom Dundon, owner of the Professional Pickleball Association said in a statement. “There’s no company in the world that’s as well positioned as Tennis Channel to immediately capitalize and expand upon the current pickleball explosion and the early success of the PPA Tour.”