Major League Pickleball is First American Pro Sport with ‘Promotion / Relegation’ system, a la Pro Soccer

MLP announces Relegation / Promotion

MLP will be the first major American professional sports league to implement a promotion and relegation system by introducing top-tier MLP Premier Level and upstart MLP Challenger Level with teams competing in two 3-event seasons to solidify their spot in the top Level

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The PiCKLEBALL KiNG 👑 by the PPA Comish

LOS ANGELES, CA, Dec. 12, 2022 

Sports fans and pundits have long debated the merits of the ‘Promotion / Relegation’ system of professional soccer and how it should be applied to American Professional and Collegiate sports; specifically when it comes to collegiate football and professional basketball.

Today, Major League Pickleball released it’s 2023 schedule and announced the implementation of a Promotion and Relegation system that will move teams between the MLP Premier and the MLP Challenger Levels; with a prize payout of UP TO five million dollars distributed among the 96 MLP players.

“The division into the MLP Premier Level and MLP Challenger Level will ensure the highest caliber of competition while providing a pathway and opportunities for the next generation of pro pickleball stars to break through,” said MLP President and Commissioner Brooks Wiley. “Next year will be an exciting year of team competition that will set MLP up for long-term success with this strategic format.”

There will be 12 MLP teams in each of the Premier and Challenger levels and the 2023 calendar will be divided into two “seasons”; consisting of three team events per season. Each team will consist of two men and two women.

The MLP draft for the first season will take place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas this Thursday, December 15th and air on the Tennis Channel at 9:00 p.m. EST. (This MLP draft will be in the same location where the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) will be holding it’s team event and the first ‘combined event’ since the PPA/MLP merger announced last month).

The MLP Premier Level teams will draft first and will announce their rosters the same evening.

The MLP Challenger Level rosters will be announced over the following days on MLP social channels.

The ‘re-draft’ for the ‘second season’ will be in July after the end of the first season (three events), as some teams will find themselves competing in the opposite MLP Level.

These six events will be played across the sunniest and warmest parts of the United States (Arizona, California, Florida, and Georgia). The stops for 2023 Major League Pickleball seasons are:

MLP Season One: Dates / Locations

Jan. 26-29 – Mesa, AZ – Legacy Sports USA

March 23-26 – Daytona Beach, FL – Pictona at Holly Hill

June 15-18 – San Clemente, CA – Life Time Rancho San Clemente

Season One Championship: Monday night, June 19

MLP Season Two: Dates / Locations

Sept. 21-24 – Atlanta, GA – Life Time Peachtree Corners

Nov. 2-5 – La Quinta, CA – La Quinta Resort & Club

Dec. 7-10 – San Clemente, CA – Life Time Rancho San Clemente

Season Two Championship: Monday night, December 11

The promotion and relegation of teams will be based on results for the 2023 year across both seasons and levels; placing the Top 12 performing teams into the higher-tier MLP Premier Level and the Bottom 12 performing teams into the up-and-comer MLP Challenger Level for 2024.

Still waiting on details of how all of the Promotion / Relegation will work.

And we have the following questions:

1-Do we have specifics on how many of the Premier/Challenger teams will be moved Up or Down at the end of the ‘First Season’? 

2- Is the Relegation/Promotion based on some combination of Titles Won, then Games Won, then Points Won, Head-To-Head record, etc?

3-With teams of two men and two women, are there alternates as in previous MLP events?

4-Has the manipulation of the “Injury Substitution” for Dreambreaker been addressed? What are the rules/guidelines?

The rest of the 2023 MLP team owners, team names and geographical affiliations will be released soon.