Margaritaville Joins Major League Pickleball as Marquee Sponsor
We've been flying the pickleball flag for a while now. The new(ish) sport is gaining traction, now with a professional league and dedicate courts popping up all over the world.
The accessory-heavy sport is prime for licensing, and one of the kings of branding (and good times) just showed how pickleball can accomplish branding goals. That's right, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville brand just became the marquee sponsor for Major League Pickleball, which will now be known as Major League Pickleball by Margaritaville.
.@Margaritaville Joins @MajorLeaguePB as Title Sponsor Branding The League 'MLP By Margaritaville'! Be sure to watch the draft tonight and get ready for lots of @pickleballinSun in 2023! #pickleball #majorleaguepb #pickleballinthesun https://t.co/uxUAe6CzqQ
— Laura Gainor (@LauraGainor) December 15, 2022
It's a perfect pairing. Pickleball is a sport that takes less of a physical toll than something like tennis. It's used on small courts, making it ideal for things like cruise ships and resorts. It's essentially a vacation game, and there aren't many brands more synonymous with vacation vibes than Margaritaville.
According to a press release, Margaritaville will "play a large part in the branding and strategy of on-site fan activations and immersive entertainment, bringing a Margaritaville state of mind to the MLP community at tournaments nationwide."
That means that whenever people attend a MLP event, they'll think of Margaritaville. And anyone who has been to a Margaritaville location can tell you they love commitment to a theme. The in-person branding experiences will be strong.
"I am happy to be in the same boat with MLP," said Jimmy Buffett, with what I can only hope is an intentional boat pun. "The first time I played pickleball, I was hooked. Fun has always been a part of life to me, and I think of pickleball as the perfect ratio of work to play. We can't wait to bring this partnership to life for MLP players and fans. See you on the court. Fins Up, Paddles Up!"
What a guy.
Margaritaville has been using pickleball in its own branding efforts for years now, with dedicated courts at its facilities in Florida and South Carolina.
"We take pride in our longstanding support of the sport through multi-faceted event sponsorships and the growing number of courts at our lodging destinations," said John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville. "It's exciting to be part of pickleball's continued success and evolution, so we look forward to keeping the momentum going with Major League Pickleball and the league's one-of-a-kind events and impressive collection of team owners, players and executives."
"Since the inception of MLP, the league has been deliberate about bringing on partners who unlock new strategies and opportunities for us as a league," said MLP founder and chairman Steve Kuhn in a press release. "As we continue to innovate the live experience for partners, fans and players, there is no better partner than Margaritaville. Their brand is certainly a lifestyle and we can't wait to bring the Margaritaville experience to MLP events in 2023 and beyond."
As the sport grows, there will only be more opportunities for branding at official events, like special televised events pitting celebrities against each other; as well as demand for products like paddles and kits for playing at home. As resorts add pickleball to their entertainment offerings, they'll likely want branded products showing the resort name and logos.
Margaritaville is a brand that understands the power of good branding. If they see the value in pickleball, you should, too. You don't have to be a platinum sponsor of the league, but knowing the game and being able to discuss how your clients can use it in their brand identity could be helpful.