The Association of Pickleball Players (APP) just announced a new extension of its distribution agreement with ESPN, allowing APP Tour coverage to be broadcast in Mainland China. This will be the first time an APP tournament will be aired in China, bringing premier pro pickleball to millions of new viewers.
In January, the APP first signed the deal with CBS Sports and ESPN, which marked one of the biggest television programming partnerships in pickleball history. It allowed hundreds of hours of APP Tour coverage to be streamed on ESPN+ with eight hours of post-event specials on ESPN and ESPN2.
Now, this agreement will extend these broadcasts overseas to one of the biggest media markets in the world via Star Sports Network. We’ve already seen the APP begin to make connections internationally, such as its deals with Pickleball England and Pickleball Sweden, and this latest move will continue the growth of the sport we love all over the globe!
Tom Webb, the Chief Marketing Officer of the APP, recognizes this deal with Star Sports as being instrumental to both the growth of the sport as a whole and also for gaining more viewership at the pro level.
“The announcement of the extension of our partnership with ESPN into Mainland China is a historic day for the APP, and for pickleball worldwide. There is a huge and ever-growing demand for pickleball in the United States and globally, and being able to take APP tournaments into tens of millions of potential viewers throughout China will help supercharge the already incredible growth of the sport in one of the largest markets on the planet.”Tom Webb, CMO of the APP
Star Sports Network is one of East Asia’s most prominent sports broadcasting channels, primarily in Mainland China and South Korea. They’re operated by the Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific, a Walt Disney Company – Southeast Asia subsidiary.
Pickleball has been on the rise in China this summer, so it’s no surprise that the American pro scene has piqued the interest of one of Southeast Asia’s largest sports media companies. As a player base grows in China, we can expect to see pickleball clubs and organizations like Pickleball England and Pickleball Sweden begin to pop up nationwide!
The first APP Tour broadcast in China will be a post-tournament recap of the upcoming 2023 APP Philadelphia Open, which is set to take place August 23-27 at the Upper Main Line YMCA Pickleball Venue. Stay tuned to the APP’s website for more updates about the tournament and future broadcasting information.
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