Pickleball Added to Amazon Prime’s Streaming Sports Lineup
Amazon Prime members will now get to watch one of America’s fastest-growing sports, pickleball. The Professional Pickleball Association Tour has signed a multi-year deal with Amazon Prime Video that will put four PPA Tour events live on Amazon each year, including the 2023-2024 PPA Tour World Championship Series.
The first PPA Tour event to be on the streaming network is this weekend’s Atlanta Open in Peachtree Corners, Georgia.
“When something has an explosion in growth, naturally it catches our eye,” said Charlie Nieman, head of sports partnerships for Amazon Prime Video.
The Atlanta Open is one of four majors on the PPA Tour, and on-air coverage will be provided by analysts Dave Fleming and Kyle McKenzie and play-by-play announcers Michelle McMahon and Camryn Irwin.
Amazon’s coverage of the World Championship Series will include:
- Aug. 24-27: Vulcan Kansas City Open, Kansas City
- Oct. 5-8: Guaranteed Rate Championships presented by Thorlo, Las Vegas
- Oct. 12-15: CIBC (USA vs. World) Boca Raton Open, Boca Raton
Prime Video has live streaming deals in the United States with the NFL for Thursday Night Football, the Seattle Storm of the WNBA, the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball, and the professional basketball league Overtime Elite.
Outside of the United States, Amazon’s streaming deals include the Premier League in the United Kingdom, UEFA Champions League in Germany and Italy, New Zealand Cricket in India, and the NBA in Brazil.
Pickleball Betting on the Horizon
As of right now, there are no legal sportsbooks operating in the United States that take bets on pickleball. But that is expected to change in the near future. Long before this week’s announced deal with Amazon Prime Video, the Professional Pickleball Association Tour had a working partnership with Genius Sports.
Genius Sports is one of the major data providers operating in sports betting, and they work with the DraftKings sportsbook and the NFL, among others. Genius Sports calls itself, “The official data, technology, and commercial partner that powers the ecosystem connecting sports, betting, and media.”
Continuing to grow pickleball and the popularity of the PPA will undoubtedly include the introduction of legal gambling. Genius Sports has current partnerships with more than 150 sportsbooks worldwide, and it is now estimated that 36 million Americans play pickleball annually.
Pickleball has other television deals with ABC, Fox, CBS, YouTube, the Tennis Channel, and ESPN. There is also a push on the global stage to get pickleball into the Olympics. As of now, the International Federation of Pickleball has 70 member nations of the 75 required to gain recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Along with the Professional Pickleball Association Tour, there is also Major League Pickleball, which has been around since 2021, and the Association of Pickleball Professionals. The APP is aligned with USA Pickleball, the governing body of the sport in the United States.
The competing leagues and associations speaks to the popularity of the sport, and it also explains the large number of different television networks and streaming platforms that broadcast pickleball. Before the sport goes fully mainstream with legal wagering, there will need to be some cohesion between the associations, and new regulations and monitoring systems put in place.
When you consider that you can currently place bets on table tennis, darts, and snooker, the hurdles to making pickleball betting a reality are easy to overcome.