Anna Bright and Andrei Daescu playing pickleball doubles.
Anna Bright and Andrei Daescu competing for the Orlando Squeeze in 2023. Major League Pickleball

Changes coming to 2024 MLP competition structure

DALLAS, TX - With the first Major League Pickleball event of the year beginning in just two days, we’ve got all the information on some changes coming to pickleball’s favorite team-based competition in 2024.

Click here for the basics of MLP competition, here for the 2024 MLP schedule, and here for the official release fully documenting these changes.

Regular Season Events and Mid-Season Tournament

All 22 (12 Premier, 10 Challenger) MLP teams will take part in five of the eight total regular season events and compete in 23 total matches.

Those eight regular season events will be played across the country during eight different weeks from May to October, with the first beginning on Thursday in Atlanta. 

After the second regular season event in Washington, D.C., attention will turn towards the Mid-Season Tournament set to take place July 10-14 in Grand Rapids, MI during the Beer City Open.

All 22 teams will be in attendance, and this event will mark the first time that Premier and Challenger teams will compete against each other in the same bracket.

Teams will be seeded according to their record after the first two regular season events, with Premier teams making up seeds 1-12 and Challenger teams filling seeds 13-22.

The tournament will be double elimination, and prize payouts totaling $200,000 will be up for grabs.


2024 MLP Playoffs

The top six teams at each level will make the playoffs, which are set to take place in both Dallas and Orlando across two weeks in November.

Team rankings are based on standings points earned at the regular season events:

                     3 points: Regulation win (i.e.: 3-1 or 4-0 win; no Dreambreaker needed)

                     2 points: Dreambreaker win (i.e.: 3-2 win)

                     1 point: Dreambreaker loss (i.e.: 2-3 loss)

                     0 points: Regulation loss (i.e.: 1-3 or 0-4 loss; no Dreambreaker needed)

Round 1 will feature seeds No. 3-6, with the top two seeds at each level receiving byes.

In this opening round, the highest-seeded team (No. 3 seed) can select the team they would like to play—it doesn’t have to be the No. 6 seeded team.

The benefits of being the higher-seeded team don’t end there, though.

In every playoff match, the team with the higher seed will receive first choice on all four decisions (serve/receive; side; respond to first mixed pairing; gender doubles order) and will be able to respond to their opponent’s Dreambreaker lineup if the match requires one.

Match Scoring

MLP will stick with the rally scoring format that it has used since its inception, but games will now be played to 25 instead of to 21.

Additionally, there will no longer be a freeze on game point. This means that teams don’t have to be serving to close out the match.

Dreambreakers, however, will still be played to 21 under these new rules.

Waiver Wire

Every team will be able to participate in the waiver wire process. There will be four waiver wire periods over the course of the 2024 season, with one set to take place after every other regular season event beginning with MLP Washington, D.C. in June.

Waiver wire order will be determined based on the reverse order of average points earned per match played, and teams can make up to two selections in a given waiver period.

Premier waivers will be executed on the Wednesday following the event, and Challenger waivers will be executed on that Thursday.

Teams can also make waiver claims for non-contracted players, but the player must sign a contract before they can take the court for that team.


We’ve already seen one trade happen at the Premier level between the Utah Black Diamonds and Orlando Squeeze, but there are new rules for those, too.

Teams are able to make trades at any point before the completion of MLP Virginia Beach on Sept. 29, but exceptions for trades made after this date due to injury or pregnancy will be allowed.

Teams can trade each other players, cash, and waiver wire selection slots:

 Players: Players can be traded either within or between the Premier and Challenger levels, and teams must maintain two men and two women on their roster at all times.

 Cash: Teams can trade up to $200,000 per transaction, and any financial compensation as part of a trade goes straight to the team with no allocation to the league.

 Waiver Wire Selection Slots: Only waiver wire selection slots for the current season are able to be traded, and they can only be traded between two Premier teams or two Challenger teams.



If a player gets injured during an event, teams can replace the player by choosing from a pool of alternates provided by the league.

This is a change from last season, where Premier teams could select replacement players from Challenger teams competing at the same event.

Now, this isn’t allowed.

Additionally, each team will have one “Injured Reserve” spot on their roster so that they don’t have to remove said player from the roster while they recover.

New this year is a loan system that can be used if a player suffers an injury in between MLP events.

A Premier team may acquire a player from a Challenger team to use for an event as long as that Challenger team isn’t competing at the same event.

The team ‘loaning’ out the player may also receive cash compensation up to $200,000.

This doesn’t go the other way, however; a Challenger team may not acquire a loaned player from a Premier team under the same circumstances.

Player Keepers

Premier level teams will have the opportunity to keep two of their players for up to three years and one of their players for up to two years.

In order to keep players for those second and third years, the team must pay 50% of what it cost to draft that player in the dynamic bidding system. If the team does not pick up that option, then that player returns to free agency and can be picked up by another team.

The top four Challenger level teams at the end of this season will earn a promotion to Premier in 2025 and will be subject to the same guidelines regarding player keepers as all the other Premier teams.

All teams competing at the Premier level in 2025—including the four newly promoted teams—will participate in a free agency process after the season that will replicate the dynamic bidding process used for the Premier Level draft where teams bid on specific draft slots.

One key difference between this free agency process and the draft is that there is no set budget, meaning that all money spent on players will come out-of-pocket from each team.

The free agency process for the Challenger teams has not yet been released.