MLP leadership addresses player agreements and pay cuts

MLP leadership addresses player agreements and pay cuts

DALLAS, TX - In a letter sent out today to MLP’s signed players, MLP leadership addresses recent adjustments made to player agreements in the pursuit of creating a sustainable and thriving future for the sport.

The letter focuses on the player agreement negotiations that have taken place over the last few weeks and makes mention of the intended merger between PPA and MLP, which is referred to as "NewCo."

It’s disclosed that “previous MLP leadership signed players to unsustainable and unauthorized contracts without the knowledge of a vast majority of MLP's owners and executives,” and the letter goes on to state that the previous leadership responsible for these actions is no longer associated with the MLP organization. From this, it’s assumed that “previous leadership” refers to Steve Kuhn, Julio DePietro, Brooks Wiley, and others.


The present leadership states that it is engaged in a “multi-pronged effort” to ensure the long-term success of all stakeholders, including working closely with players to right-size compensation and work obligations post-merger, as well as reducing MLP’s overall operational expenses in various areas such as staffing, event venues, and logistical costs.

As a result of these collaborative efforts, MLP says that “we are drawing closer to completing the planned MLP/PPA merger and having a healthy, viable, and sustainable pro pickleball ecosystem.” They also shared the following key points of progress:

  • Over 85% of all 2023 Premier Level Players have accepted reductions and new agreements with the "NewCo."
  • A significant influx of capital, totaling $50 million, is expected to fund three years of MLP expenses, including player salaries, pending the completion of the merger.
  • MLP Owners have pledged an additional $10 million annually to support operations.
  • Even after amendments to player agreements, the industry has seen a 300% increase in total player salaries projected for 2024 as compared to 2023.

The letter reassured players that those who accepted reductions in compensation would receive proportional reductions in working days, with day rates remaining the same or even increasing for those who accepted adjustments. Players who did not wish to take salary reductions could have their original contracts honored. 

Nearly all of the most recent contracts that MLP players signed committed them to 200 days of work. However, there aren’t 200 days of MLP play scheduled for 2024, leaving many players without the ability to fulfil their contractual obligations. In order to fill the gap and make financial sense, rumor has it that MLP players were told that the remainder of their working days would be used to help out with camps, clinics, exhibitions, social media content, and other duties.


Finally, the letter states that revised contracts would be distributed to players soon and that Chris Patrick, Bruce Popko, and John Goldman would work individually with players to finalize the agreements. 

It’s also mentioned that if the MLP-PPA merger is not completed by Jan. 31, 2024, the new agreements would be null and void, and deals would revert to the contracts signed with MLP or PPA, leaving the future viability and sustainability of MLP uncertain.

It's not currently known which players have accepted pay cuts and/or which of them have chosen to stick with their original contracts. The exact compensation that each signed player was set to receive is also unknown, but some of the original contracts were said to be in the multi-millions over three years and that pay cuts started at the six figure mark. 40% cuts for MLP players across the board in exchange for a proportional cut of working days was what MLP is originally said to have proposed.