New Orleans Saints legend Drew Brees is now a co-owner of a major league sports team, but it’s not an NFL franchise. The former quarterback isn’t buying a stake in a football team, or any franchise in any major American sport. In fact, you might be just as surprised as the rest of us about his recent investment.
The Super Bowl champion recently joined the ownership group of the Austin, Texas-based Mad Drops Pickleball Club. The club is one of 12 teams in Major League Pickleball, and is now owned by several famous investors. In addition to Drew Brees, the ownership group includes L.A. Lakers co-owner Jim Buss and Million Dollar Listing New York‘s Ryan Serhant. Brees announced his stake in the club on Thursday in a post on Instagram.
“I’m stoked to be the newest team co-owner for Mad Drops Pickleball Club in Major League Pickleball!” Brees wrote on Instagram. “Our 12-team co-ed league represents an incredibly competitive & exciting brand of Pickleball.”
Financial terms of the deal have not been announced, but Drew Brees has spoken about his love for pickleball in the past. During the pandemic, pickleball surged as people searched for ways to stay active while social distancing. According to The Sports Fitness Industry Association, pickleball’s popularity grew by 39% over the last two years. That makes it the fastest-growing sport in America, with nearly five million players across the nation, according to USA Pickleball.
“I am an avid pickleball player, fan and student of the game,” Drew Brees said in a statement. “I look forward to helping raise awareness around the incredible players and competitions in MLP, helping grow the sport of pickleball and fostering overall fan engagement.”
Drew Brees Jokes That He Might Join the Pickleball Tour
Following his NFL retirement in 2021, Drew Brees spent the last year working as an analyst for NBC Sports. However, after only one season, Brees and NBC mutually parted ways. As many speculated about his future for the upcoming season, Brees shrugged off the rumor mill. In a Twitter post from May 15th, the 13-time Pro Bowler jokingly stated that he “may train for the pickleball tour.”
While he’s not a player on the tour himself, Drew Brees is now a co-owner of the Mad Drops. The sport has also gotten a boost in recent history from numerous celebrities who enjoy pickleball. Big name celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, the Kardashians, Ellen DeGeneres, and billionaire Melinda Gates have all played pickleball in recent years.
Founder and CEO Steve Kuhn created Major League Pickleball in 2021. Kuhn recently released a statement of his own sharing his excitement for Brees joining the league as a co-owner.
“The talented and passionate Mad Drops PC ownership group will further elevate our competition and athletes, which contributes to our goal of growing the game of pickleball into the world’s most exciting spectator sport,” Kuhn said in the statement.