JPMorgan Chase is headed to Miami with the Association of Pickleball Players (APP) for a new sponsorship that the APP views as a “critical turning point” for the business of pickleball.
Chase will be the title sponsor of the 2024 Miami Open, which the APP Tour will host from March 20-24 at the Miami Convention Center. The banking giant will also host a concert on March 22 that will feature a soon to be announced headline act.
The APP Tour joins a list of esteemed sports properties sponsored by Chase—the US Open tennis tournament and Madison Square Garden in New York, as well as the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center home venue.
“They just have such a long history in sports sponsorship. So it is really exciting to have [Chase] recognize the growth happening in pickleball and the APP,” Shannon Dan, the APP’s EVP of Global Partnerships, told NoVolleys.
“Chase has such a broad business and broad range of products and services. Their customer and prospective customer base is virtually everyone,” she added.
“And pickleball with 50 million Americans playing the sport in the last 12 months, it’s a sport that attracts people of all ages, demographics and skill levels. I think that element of inclusivity and the sport’s broad reach was an attractive element for Chase when evaluating this sponsorship.”
Booming Miami Market Is Hub for Finance And Pickleball
APP Tour stops in Florida last year included Daytona Beach and Punta Gorda, but this will be the APP’s first tour event in Miami. Florida trails only California in terms of the most pickleball courts in the U.S., according to USA Pickleball.
“We both wanted to be in the Miami market, which was an important element of this all coming together,” Dan said. “The Miami-Fort Lauderdale market is one of the strongest pickleball markets in the world. That metropolitan area represents the largest concentration of pickleball players in Florida. Twenty percent of the state’s pickleball population resides in that area.”
The 305 is also an attractive destination for Chase given Miami’s growing status as a financial hub. Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin told Bloomberg in November that he could envision Miami eventually replacing New York as the world’s financial center.
“Miami has really emerged in the last several years to be recognized as a top financial hub worldwide. So in addition to it being a great pickleball market, it’s also a great financial market. So it just makes a lot of sense for Chase to increase its presence there,” said Dan.
Chase Supports APP’s Global Ambitions
Miami could be only the start of Chase’s pickleball presence with the APP, which partnered with international organizations in 2023 to host tournaments across England, Sweden, India, Spain and Australia.
The APP is looking to expand its global reach in 2024, starting with its inaugural Atlantic Cup event held during the Miami Open that will pit Team USA vs. Team Europe in a new international team format.
“Chase is a global brand with a presence in markets around the world, and the APP is the only pickleball tour or league with a global presence,” Dan said. “Hopefully as the APP’s global business grows and the sport of pickleball grows globally, so can our relationship with Chase as a global brand.”
A Defining Moment for the APP, Pro Pickleball
“With any emerging or high growth sport, pickleball traditionally has been supported by endemic brands—pickleball balls, paddles, apparel, footwear brands. But what’s happened as recently as the last four to six months, is the APP has started to attract non-endemic brands,” Dan said. “That movement is really critical in the growth of the sport and the maturity of the business of pickleball.”
The APP was founded in 2019. Non-endemic brands to join Chase as league sponsors over the past six months include health insurance firm Humana, the AARP, and beer brand Fat Tire.
“Securing this Chase sponsorship, we may look back at this as really a defining moment for the APP and really as a signal for the opportunity and growth ahead,” Dan explained. “Because that move from endemic brands to non endemic brands is just such a critical turning point in the business of sport. We’re really in the midst of that now.”