Major League Pickleball names new CEO and COO

From CNBC.

Major League Pickleball (MLP) has announced the appointment of Julio DePietro as its CEO and Bruce Popko as its COO as the league aims to capitalize on the increasing popularity of professional pickleball in America. MLP, a team-based pro pickleball league, is experiencing explosive growth at the amateur level and seeks to leverage this momentum.

MLP founder Steve Kuhn expressed his excitement about the new leadership, stating that the addition of DePietro and Popko signifies a significant step forward for the league’s evolution. DePietro, a finance and media executive, and Popko, a former NFL executive, will be responsible for guiding the league during this pivotal time.

DePietro, previously a partner at Citadel and a long-time colleague of Kuhn, purchased a stake in the Florida Smash MLP team in 2022 and will now divest his stake to focus on his new role. He believes that MLP has a strong platform and product and anticipates continued exponential growth in the sport.

Under DePietro’s ownership, team valuations have skyrocketed, growing 100-fold in a year. Teams that were once sold for as little as $100,000 are now commanding prices as high as $10 million. This demonstrates the increasing demand and potential profitability of professional pickleball.

With the appointment of new leadership, MLP aims to build on the current momentum and solidify its position as a prominent professional pickleball league, attracting more fans, players, and investors.

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