United Pickleball Association Taps Ex-Mavs Exec as Chief Revenue Officer

George Killebrew, a mastermind behind the Dallas Mavericks' top-tier revenue generation and former Major League Rugby Commissioner, has joined the United Pickleball Association (UPA) as chief revenue officer. The UPA, which oversees the Carvana PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball, taps into Killebrew’s 20 years of experience as one of Mark Cuban's key executives to revolutionize the fast-growing sport of pickleball.

Dallas has become a major hub for professional and amateur pickleball activities, with the PPA Tour headquarters, Major League Pickleball teams, and major tournaments being hosted in the region. Now, the United Pickleball Association (UPA) has named former Dallas Mavericks EVP/CRO and Major League Rugby Commissioner George Killebrew as its chief revenue officer.

Killebrew will oversee the UPA sponsorship sales team, on-site revenue team (ticket sales and amateur registrations), and the sponsorship activation team of the UPA. He has been consulting with the PPA Tour since October but has now formalized his role at UPA.

Dallas-based UPA CEO Connor Pardoe announced the formation of the United Pickleball Association two months ago on LinkedIn, calling it the “gold standard” in pickleball. The UPA is the holding company of the Dallas-based Carvana PPA Tour and Austin-based Major League Pickleball.

“[Killebrew] brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in spearheading business opportunities in both established and emerging sports,” said Pardoe, who is also founder and CEO of the Carvana PPA Tour. “His work to this point has been instrumental in guiding a path forward, and his continued involvement in a permanent position will be exceedingly valuable in helping grow the UPA and pickleball as a whole.”

Killebrew said he is “blown away by the potential in this fast-growing sport.” He highlighted the “double-digit growth in our revenue areas,” noting that “already, we are experiencing double-digit growth in our revenue areas, and we are just at the very beginning.”

The new CRO described the situation as “an incredible American and global sports story unfolding right in front of our eyes.” He adds: “I, too, am addicted to the sport, along with the 40 million people that are also now playing the game.”

Expert in sports revenue generation

At the Mavericks, Killebrew led the ticket sales group, sponsorship team, and sponsor activation group. Under his leadership, the Mavericks were consistently ranked in the top tier of revenue generation within the NBA.

Killebrew served as one of Mark Cuban’s chief business officers for 20 years.

As commissioner of Major League Rugby, Killebrew led efforts to add new expansion teams, increased sponsorships from only barter deals to more than $1 million in his first year. He secured an all-encompassing TV contract with Fox Sports, ensuring the MLR Finals would be aired on FOX National and an additional 24 matches each season on FS1 and FS2.

With Killebrew’s efforts alongside MLR ownership, and USA Rugby, the United States won the bid to host the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup for the very first time.

On LinkedIn, Pardoe said the State Championship Series, which leads up to “pickleball’s biggest party and largest event globally, the UPA Championships,” will be held in November.

Quincy Preston contributed to this report.

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