Celebrating 4 Years Marketing Pickleball with Top 15 Highlights

Celebrating 4 Years Marketing Pickleball with Top 15 Highlights

October 2023 officially marks the fourth anniversary of the launch of Vossberg Gainor. Over these years, it has been an incredible honor to play a part in the growth of this exciting sport as the world’s first pickleball marketing agency. I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with remarkable organizations, brands, industry professionals, and talented athletes within the pickleball community.

Additionally, as the creator of the Pickleball in the Sun brand, a lifestyle and leisure brand sharing the best pickleball destinations and experiences, I absolutely love being a passionate pickleball enthusiast myself and living that pickleball lifestyle with so many of you.

I could write a book on the experiences I’ve had over the last four years, but here are 15 Top Highlights from marketing for America’s fastest-growing sport….with so many more to come…

Laura Gainor

Vossberg Gainor’s First Client: USA Pickleball

Shortly after launching Vossberg Gainor, I was introduced to George Bauernfeind who was just hired on as their CMO. I was brought on to help with the brand relaunch, marketing and earned media efforts, and more.

Learn more about some of these highlights from our interview with Marketing Brew.

Learning How to Play Pickleball & Launching the Chicago Pickleball Club

If only I knew back on this day in November of 2019 how much pickleball would change my life! All of us looked forward to our Friday nights getting to play pickleball and socialize at FFC in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Visiting the Original Pickleball Court

Such an incredible day to meet the Bainbridge Island Pickleball community and step foot on the original pickleball court. Hearing stories from the founding family members is something I will never forget. We’re all incredibly fortunate as a community that Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum invented this sense of community for us through the game of pickleball.

Bringing Pickleball Mainstream

A huge career highlight to get to work with so many national media outlets and build strong connections with the talented producers, writers and anchors creating these features.

Thank you to CNBC, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, TODAY, Sports Business Journal, Allure Magazine and many more on continuing to grow the game.

Maren Morris & Jimmy Kimmel

Throughout the last four years I took a shot on getting the chance to share celebrity stories and Maren Morris was definitely one of those top highlights! Having the opportunity to talk to her for thirty minutes about playing pickleball while on tour was a tremendous honor. Adding in having the story featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live and them talking about the feature for more than five minutes, was mind blowing! Maren and Jimmy, I hope I get the chance to play pickleball with you both sometime.

Launching Pickleball in the Sun

Once our family moved to Florida, I became even more of a passionate pickleball player and started traveling with my family and friends to unique destinations to participate in tournaments. That inspired me to launch “Pickleball in the Sun,” a lifestyle and leisure brand sharing the best pickleball destinations and experiences.

My brand continues to evolve with the game and I look forward to continuing to share the pickleball lifestyle and some great destinations along the way!

Celebrity Galentine’s Day Tournament

Hosted by June Diane Raphael, Jessica St. Clair, Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider, the Celebrity Galentine’s Day Tournament was one of the most impressive celebrity events to date. With celebrity guests like Retta, Emma Watson, Paul Scheer, and more, everyone had an incredible time.

With OS1st as the Official sock, Franklin as the Official ball, our team had an incredible time creating highlights from the event. Watch some of the action on our @PickleballintheSun Instagram channel.

Pickleball with the Umansky Family

While out in Los Angeles, we were welcomed to Mauricio Umansky and Kyle Richards’ beautiful home court to play pickleball for the cover shoot of Pickleball Magazine. It was an honor to play pickleball with Mauricio and his daughter, Alexia.

The cover story was written by the talented magazine editor, Julie Talerico. Visit @PickleballintheSun’s Instagram channel for cover shoot highlights!

Pickleball Days with Pro Sports Leagues

This past year, pro sports leagues have taken note on the hype of pickleball and the opportunity to sell tickets to their games. I had the chance to work with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Miami Marlins, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Orlando Magic, and more, on providing insights on how to attract fans with custom paddles and pro player experiences.

Action News Jax Growing the Game

The Jacksonville pickleball community continues to grow with the addition of incredible facilities like the Pickle Garden at The Yards, the YMCA, and our home courts in the Nocatee Community. Over the last year, it has been an honor to work with Action News Jax’s Mike Buresh and Marithza Ross, playing lots of Pickleball in the Sun!

Pickleball in Milwaukee

Milwaukee will always hold a special place in my heart and it was an honor to travel back this year and get to play some Pickleball in the Sun at the Milwaukee Public Market courts! We also welcomed the Johnson Family for their first Milwaukee Brewers experience and I sat down with the crew from Wisconsin Afternoon News to talk about the growth of the game on their radio show.

Building a Strong Pickleball Community Network While on the Road

I’m incredibly grateful for the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet while traveling for pickleball tournaments, events, vacations, and more. From professional players, to celebrities, to talented professionals in the industry, there’s nothing like the pickleball community.

The Pickleball Slam

It was an iconic day when four tennis legends, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, and Andy Roddick came together to compete in The Pickleball Slam, hosted at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. I got the opportunity to meet these four tennis legends and witness Agassi and Roddick win $1M.

Sharing our Family Story

Thanks to my pickleball partner and friend, Mia Azotea, she nominated us to be featured as the cover story for 32081 Living and Ponte Vedra Living. We had a fun family photoshoot at the Pickle Garden at The Yards. I loved getting the chance to share our story and how Brian, Clara and Garrett have supported me as a female entrepreneur.

Read the full story…

Pickleball with Family & Friends

All around the world, the sport of pickleball has connected so many people and has brought fun and exercise along with it. I could feature thousands of photos playing pickleball all around the world. I’m grateful for getting to enjoy the Pickleball in the Sun lifestyle with my family and friends.

Inside the NBA Bubble with Scott Foster

Summer of 2020 I got the opportunity to interview the NBA’s Crew Chief Referee, Scott Foster, for the cover feature of Pickleball Magazine as he taught many of the referees and media crew members how to play pickleball while the league was inside “The NBA Bubble” in the midst of the pandemic. Since then, Scott continues to play pickleball while on the road.

Humana is Bringing Pickleball to the National Mall Featuring Celebrities and Major League Pickleball

Humana is Bringing Pickleball to the National Mall Featuring Celebrities and Major League Pickleball

For nearly the past year, I’ve truly enjoyed creating this Pickleball Marketing Newsletter each week. It’s become a valuable avenue for me to reconnect with former marketing colleagues and clients who are deeply involved in brand activations within the fastest-growing sport in America.

Among these agencies is GMR Marketing, a firm that played a pivotal role in shaping my experiential marketing career. I had the privilege of contributing to remarkable programs alongside some of the industry’s most esteemed marketing leaders.

Today, I’m excited to share a remarkable collaboration between Humana and the Trust for the National Mall, aimed at bringing Pickleball to the heart of the National Mall.

From September 28th – 30th, nine temporary pickleball courts will grace the JFK Hockey Fields, adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

This three-day extravaganza is entirely free and designed for public participation. Attendees can look forward to an array of engaging programs, including celebrity matches featuring the likes of Katie Couric and Rob Riggle, on-site pickleball lessons and clinics, exhibition matches with Major League Pickleball’s D.C. Pickleball Team, an “in the kitchen” cooking demo with Tiffany Benjamin, and much more.

“At its core, Humana is committed to championing seniors, promoting healthy and active lifestyles, and fostering social connections,” said Bruce Broussard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Humana. “We are excited to bring pickleball—an accessible, inclusive and friendly sport—to one of the most special places in our country where everyone, regardless of background, has the opportunity to connect, be active, and live their healthiest life.”

The reservations for court time and clinics are already full, but visit their website for more details about all of the free events that are open to the public and view the full schedule of events below.

This pop-up event serves as a stellar illustration of how brands can leverage pickleball to align with their core values and cultivate community engagement. It exemplifies a creative and strategic approach to marketing and brand development, leaving enthusiasts eagerly anticipating future events hosted by Humana.

Pickleball at the National Mall Schedule of Events 

Carvana PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball Announce Full Merger to Form a Unified Professional Pickleball Organization

Carvana PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball Announce Full Merger to Form a Unified Professional Pickleball Organization

Major League Pickleball and the PPA Tour have announced a merger that is backed by $50M investment led by private equity firm SC Holdings and Financier/MLP Team Owner Al Tylis, along with PPA Tour Owner Tom Dundon and various MLP team owners.

I will share more in the days and weeks ahead as we learn more information about the merger and the future of professional pickleball.

Subscribe to Pickleball Marketing News:


AUSTIN and DALLAS, TX., September 13, 2023 — Today, leading professional pickleball organizations MLP by Margaritaville (MLP) and Carvana PPA Tour (PPA Tour) announced an agreement to merge under a unified and definitive professional pickleball holding company. The consolidation of the two entities is backed by a $50M investment from SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, PPA Tour owner Tom Dundon, and a roster of existing MLP team owners.

The new combined organization will provide players, fans, and sponsors with the benefits of a streamlined schedule and single entity overseeing the two still-distinct brands. The merger combines the leading individual and team-based professional pickleball formats into a single parent company, equally supporting and promoting both MLP and the PPA Tour. The new holding company will provide players and sponsors great confidence and opportunity in the future of professional pickleball.

The PPA Tour is the traditional, bracket-style tour format that determines the best players in the world and showcases individual athletes and their unique journeys to reach the top.

MLP is the innovative team-based, coed league format that brings thrilling fan-centric experiences and competition throughout the regular season and championships.

“As professional pickleball continues to rapidly grow, we could not be more excited to provide both players and fans with the clarity and consistency of a unified professional pickleball organization,” said Major League Pickleball Founder Steve Kuhn. “This merger will expand and improve opportunities for current and future players, creating a united experience and a better future playing professional pickleball.”

“Over the past few years, we have seen ever-increasing interest from investors, sponsors, fans and players who understand the immense value in the future of professional pickleball,” said PPA Tour owner Tom Dundon. “The holding company unifying the PPA Tour and MLP will create a streamlined sport for fans and add more meaningful opportunities for player competition, broadcasting rights and sponsorship throughout the professional pickleball calendar.”

Professional pickleball fans will now be able to watch both exciting formats and the best players in the sport competing under one competitive umbrella, with the new unified organization boasting over 150 of the leading professional pickleball players and an extensive calendar of team and individual events throughout the year.

The parent company’s board of directors and team owners include an impressive roster of business leaders, leading investors and professional athletes. The new board of directors will include: Jason Stein from SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, PPA Tour owner Tom Dundon, MLP founder Steve Kuhn , and former Goldman Sachs Partner Brian Levine.

PCKL Interview: A Marketing Agency Just for Pickleball?

PCKL Interview: A Marketing Agency Just for Pickleball?

One year after launching Vossberg Gainor, she officially transitioned her business to solely be focused on pickleball marketing. The only agency of it’s kind, having worked with some of the leading pickleball brands in the U.S. including USA Pickleball, Pickleball Magazine and others.

In the last two years she has helped bring pickleball into the spotlight as the fastest growing sport with USA Pickleball and Pickleball Magazine being featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, USA TODAY, The New York Times, CNBC, among other national media outlets.

After more than 3 years experience building credibility and expertise in the pickleball marketing space, she now works with multiple brands and focuses on Pickleball in the Sun, a lifestyle and leisure brand launched by Vossberg Gainor. You can regularly find her playing on her local Nocatee community courts and enjoying the sunshine with her husband Brian and kids, Clara and Garrett.

Laura Gainor Guest Interview on Building Pickleball: Bringing Pickleball Mainstream

Laura Gainor Guest Interview on Building Pickleball: Bringing Pickleball Mainstream

Laura Gainor, founder of Vossberg Gainor, had the opportunity to be a guest on the Building Pickleball Podcast to share her story about finding her own pickleball marketing agency, launching a pickleball lifestyle and leisure brand, Pickleball in the Sun, and helping to bring pickleball mainstream over the last 3+ years.  

Laura and podcast host, Brian Lim, chat about the media opportunities she coordinated at her local courts with Good Morning America and NBC Nightly News, celebrity cover stories like Maren Morris playing pickleball on tour and being featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and why LinkedIn has been a valuable tool for her businesses and in helping to grow the sport.

Listen to the full episode below.