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Major League Pickleball gets its first spirits sponsor

The premier league for pickleball, the fastest growing sport in the US, has announced Dulce Vida as its first official Tequila partner.

Pickleball is a racket sport that hybridises tennis, badminton and table tennis. Though it dates back to the 1960s, it has surged in popularity in recent years, partly due to people seeking new pursuits during the pandemic, and partly because it is slower-paced than other racket sports, and is therefore more accessible to different age groups.

The numbers concerning the pickleball boom are striking. According to data, whereas five million people played the sport in early 2021, between August 2021 and August 2022, that number shot up to 36.5m, with a YouGov study finding that 14% of Americans had played it at least once during that 12 month period.

This national interest has resulted in the emergence of Major League Pickleball (MLP) teams across the US, such as the New York Hustlers and Milwaukee Mashers.

The addition of a spirits brand to the list of league sponsors (bringing the total to 12) does mark a milestone in the growth of the sport, as MLP interim CEO Brian Levine explained: “We take pride in partnering with brands that value the impact pickleball has on people’s lives and the communities they live in. We’ve been deliberate about bringing aboard partners who will elevate the experience at our events and who are passionate about growing the game of pickleball. Dulce Vida checks both of these boxes and we couldn’t be more excited to have them as a partner through the 2024 season.”

Eric Dopkins, founder and CEO of Milestone Brands, which has Dulce Vida in its portfolio, said: “Dulce Vida is excited to be the official tequila of Major League Pickleball. As one of the fastest growing tequilas in the country, it only makes sense to partner with the fastest growing sport in the US.”

Dulce Vida is not the first drinks company to make inroads into the sport: brewer Anheuser-Busch announced last November that it would become a team owner.

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