This is the controversial story of how three ex-collegiate tennis players and a retired NFL linebacker, joined forces with a poker player, a University of Maryland engineering student, a fringe pro tennis player from Isreal, an immigrant owner of retail sporting goods store and ESPN3; came together to utilize the emerging sport of professional Pickleball, (a tennis-ping pong hybrid; and yes, it’s a thing) to broadcast the first LIVE sporting event two weeks after the deadly Coronavirus pandemic began shutting down collegiate, professional and Olympic sporting events across the world, let alone bringing financial turmoil to global markets and economic gridlock that caused people to lose their jobs, their businesses and their lives.
In the process, the broadcast and its participants also navigated a myriad of Federal, State and Local safety orders, including the ‘Stay At Home’ requirements, during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Oh, and there was also the use of a Magic Glove.
On Thursday, March 26, 2020, ESPN3, Harry Cicma Productions, LLC and Pro Legacy Sports put the ‘best practices’ of Professional, Social and Physical Distancing to the test as they produced a LIVE broadcast of the It’s Pickleball Mania World Championships, a professional Pickleball event, at ‘Florida’s Premier Tennis and Pickleball Store’ in Bonita Springs, Fla.; consisting of a small production / event crew and players totaling 10 people (six people on the event / broadcast team and four pickleball players; playing only singles matches, no doubles).
This has gone from a feel-good promotional event designed to bring Live Entertainment to those stuck at home during the Covid-19 crisis, to one that has exploded online because everybody has an opinion about whether it should have been played or not; and everybody is hearing different stories.
There’s no doubt that misinformation thrives when there’s a lack of accurate, trusted and credible information — ThisWeekInPickleball.com was the only one who went right to all the sources involved to get the whole story straight.
A ThisWeekInPickleball.com Investigative Series.