A lot is going on in pickleball as interest in the sport keeps skyrocketing. For instance, the two international governing organizations are feuding. Meanwhile, the United States has both the Association of Pickleball Professionals and the Professional Pickleball Association. They have plenty of friction of their own. If you’re interested in pickleball and its future, it is worth knowing about the main pickleball associations at the different levels.
International Pickleball Associations
The two world-wide groups to know about are the International Federation of Pickleball and the World Pickleball Federation.
International Federation of Pickleball (IFP): In February 2022, IFP President Pat Murphy got a letter of no confidence from eight of the organization’s directors and two of its board members. The letter listed 13 apparent protocol breaches and demanded that Murphy resign right away. When Murphy had not responded as of six weeks later, the people who signed the letter then resigned. Nine national associations withdrew from IFP, with India remaining a member.
World Pickleball Federation (WFP): Many countries had already been members of both the IFP and the WPF. With the IFP in shambles, the WPF has its chance to set a vision and guide the course of pickleball on the international stage.
Pickleball Associations in the United States
Two professional tours feature in the United States: the Association of Pickleball Professionals and the Professional Pickleball Association. In addition, there is also the USA Pickleball Association, which is the national-level membership group.
USA Pickleball (USAPA): Notably, the USAP never registered with the WFP in the first place; instead, they joined the IFP.
Professional Pickleball Association (PPA): The PPA has distinguished itself by giving some of the top players in the world one-year and then three-year exclusivity contracts. These players recused themselves from Association of Pickleball Professionals events and tournaments in exchange for appearance fees.
Thomas Dundon bought the PPA from its founder in 2021 and changed the one-year exclusivity contracts to three years. In 2022, the PPA is hosting about 20 tournaments with $2.5 million in total prize money.
Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP): The APP never has had exclusivity contracts or demands akin to the PPA’s. However, the APP requires players to register with the USAP and use APP-approved referees.
The 2022 schedule includes 32 tournaments, five countries, and $2 million in total prizes. Each tournament averages 800 players.
From some perspectives, the APP is similar to triple AAA baseball. It is not quite the major leagues, and players can get a lot of practice in before moving to the next level. Of course, from other perspectives, the APP is the major league in its own right.
In any case, the competing PPA and APP visions mean that some top-rated players don’t participate in certain tournaments.
Major League Pickleball (MLP): The newest association, MLP, hit the scene in 2021 with both APP and PPA competitors. In 2022, PPA players could no longer compete in MLP.
Learn More About Pickleball
If you’re interested in joining one of the pickleball associations, you probably want beginner paddles and good shoes. Check out the selection at Pickleball Portal today.