Pickleball appearance fees, gambling, and sports agents — The James Ignatowich Show on Selkirk TV
In the 30th episode of The James Ignatowich Show, James sits down with his childhood friend and up-and-coming professional pickleballer Ryan Fu. The two look forward to the 2023 PPA Tournament of Champions and discuss the future of tournament appearance fees and sports agents.
Ryan Fu’s background:
James and Ryan have been facing off on the tennis court since they were 10 years old, with the record leaning in favor of Ryan, who played tennis at the University of Michigan. Now, Ryan plans to move to Florida and train for a professional pickleball career.
2023 PPA Tournament of Champions preview:
James says Ryan is a pickleball encyclopedia, and Ryan flexes his knowledge as they preview the PPA Tournament of Champions. James is playing men’s doubles with fellow Selkirk pro Tyson McGuffin and mixed doubles with Anna Bright. As several podium athletes — such as Ben Johns, Anna Leigh Waters, and JW Johnson — are sitting out of the Tournament of Champions, the duo discusses which pairings have the potential to go for gold.
Ryan studied media in college and he hopes to build a pickleball client base as he works on his professional career. Ideally, Ryan would love to run social media accounts for fellow pickleballers, and James jokes he might hand off the reins to his account soon.
As two major tours compete for athletes, top pickleballers currently receive appearance fees for playing on certain tours. James and Ryan discuss whether appearance fees will stay if a pickleball tour monopoly is created and what would happen if appearance fees are redistributed into prize money.
Are agents taking advantage of lower-level players?:
James asks Ryan whether he will consider having a sports agent as he starts his professional career. Ryan says at the beginning, he will not, but questions at what point it’s worth having one.
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