January 13, 2023
12 MONTHS OF FIRSTS: A PICKLEBALL CASE STUDY
By Javier Regalado
The past 12 months have been full of excitement and challenging experiences. It has been the result of a vision with a passion. And it’s been an honor to be part of the promotion of the fastest-growing sport in the world.
When we started the Liga Profesional de Pickleball México (LPPM) almost three years ago, we had to ask the very basic question of where to begin. How do you promote and introduce a new sport without any financial resources to a country with limited interest in racket sports and different language that could relate to the word pickleball? Well, like any entrepreneurial endeavor or start-up, with a lot of creativity and hard work.
We understood that our biggest asset was to build a team full of talent that would compensate for the lack of funds. Most of our team has been working pro bono and volunteering in a project that all find fascinating.
So, we decided that the best way to promote the sport was for people to play it and experience what the magic’s all about when they participate in tournaments and open social play. We put together a calendar of events that included exhibition and promotional events, as well as regional tournaments.
The result has been incredible. It has been a period of many firsts and great accomplishments:
The first Latin American National Tour composed of nine tournaments.
The first broadcasted pickleball tournament on TV in Mexico.
We started pickleball news and capsules on national TV.
We traveled more than 8,000 miles.
We reached most geographical regions of the country.
More than 700 players participated in our tournaments.
Players from 14 countries played in our events.
We introduced pickleball to more than 1,000 people with exhibition events.
We turned tennis and other sports venues into pickleball courts.
We achieved support with major endemic and non-endemic sponsorships.
We started promoting pickleball in public schools.
We have created social gatherings where people have met new friends.
We have brought joy, enthusiasm and happiness to many communities and individuals.
We have put a lot of smiles on people’s faces.
We have organized competitive events that become aspirational to young players.
The LPPM is part of the task force working on unifying the sport globally.
Yes, we need to learn and improve on many fronts. We’ve had criticism and there’s certainly always room to be better. But not even our detractors can take away our major achievements, which outweigh by far our faults. We have invested large amounts of time and sacrificed family moments, risking many things in the personal and public scenes. My team has worked hard and exhausted all the possibilities to bring players the best experience. My admiration and tremendous respect go to those I had the privilege of working with: John, Jorge, Mari Jose, Rodrigo, Natalia, Paulette, Victor, Toño, Ernesto, Gaby, Marina, Marco, Andrés, Jesse, Paco, Eduardo, Luis, Fernanda, and Oscar to name a few. You all have my deepest gratitude—you are the heart and soul of the LPPM.
Finally, we have achieved or provoked, with our accomplishments and mistakes, encouraging others to organize and promote pickleball through clinics, tournaments and events. Competition is good and healthy. After all, that’s what pickleball and any other sport is about. So, we welcome any other efforts that will help promote and grow pickleball.
We are working on a very exciting and fun calendar of events for 2023 and beyond. We are about to make great announcements on our growth. Please visit our web page for details.
If we haven’t met you, we really hope we can see you visiting Mexico to play pickleball and have a great time. Thank you for all your support and enthusiasm. •
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.