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Natekar Sports and Gaming is set to launch the World Pickleball League
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Natekar Sports and Gaming is set to launch the World Pickleball League

Natekar Sports and Gaming (NSG), a company owned and promoted by former Indian tennis star Gaurav Natekar, is launching the World Pickleball League. Sony Entertainment Talent Ventures India (SETVI) has come on board as a strategic investor.

Pickleball, a racquet sport, has gained mainstream status in many countries, especially the US, since the pandemic. It combines elements of table tennis, badminton and tennis and can be played indoors in singles or doubles on a court.

Gaurav Natekar, Founder and CEO of Natekar Sports and Gaming, shared business line“Pickleball has recently become one of the fastest growing sports.

“It’s easy to play, requires very little space and investment to build courts. It is now played in more than 80 countries and offers enormous potential.”

While Natekar Sports and Gaming will own the majority stake in the league, SETVI will own a minority stake as a strategic and financial investor, he added. The league will consist of six franchises, each with 6 to 8 players, including both international and Indian players.

“We plan to invest approximately $10 million in India and APAC countries over the next three to five years. We are in advanced discussions with potential franchisees. We believe the competition will serve as a platform to promote the sport, as well as for brands looking to invest in new age sports. We consider it an athleisure event as Pickleball is about building communities. We are working closely with the All India Pickleball Federation,” Natekar added.

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According to a statement, the World Pickleball League aims to reach more than 30 million households.

“We want to hold the first event at the end of this year or early next year,” he added.

The All India Pickleball Association (AIPA) is the governing body of Pickleball in India. According to the AIPA, pickleball is played in at least 18 states with 8,000 registered players and nearly thirty-five thousand amateur players.

“Sony Entertainment Talent Ventures India (SETVI) is committed to supporting innovative sports ventures. Our partnership with Natekar Sports and Gaming to launch the first-ever professional global pickleball league marks an important step towards creating new opportunities in the sports industry,” said Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO of SETVI, in a statement.

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