UTR Sports’ Partnership with USA Pickleball to Bolster the Sport’s Development in the U.S. and Beyond

Pickleball is arguably the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., with the number of players exploding from 5 million in 2021 to 36.5 million in 2022. Commonly described as a hybrid of tennis, ping pong, and badminton, pickleball’s explosion in popularity shows off its unique position in racquet sports for being accessible and enjoyable for players of all ages, athletic abilities, and demographics.
Continuing its mission to support higher quality, level-based play for all pickleball players, UTR Sports (an innovative leader in sports rating technology) has partnered with USA Pickleball (USAP), the sport’s national governing body in the U.S. In April, the organizations announced that USA Pickleball will utilize the patent-pending UTR Pickleball Rating (UTR-P), a global rating for players of all skill levels. Downloading the UTR Sports appt and claiming your UTR-P Ratingis free for everyone.
The UTR Pickleball Rating scale goes from 1 to 10.0, with 1 representing beginners to the sport, 2 as social/casual, 3 as intermediate, 4.0 to 4.9 as advanced, and 5.0 to 10.0 as expert/pro. Scores count as either Verified or Unverified, depending on how they are organized (i.e. sanctioned tournament or organized play vs. social play with friends). A player’s Verified rating (indicated by a checkmark badge) only factors in Verified results, eliminating possible rating inflation from self reported scores during open or unsanctioned play.
Following the formation of the partnership, UTR Sports is the technology, software, and ratings/rankings partner of USA Pickleball for the national governing body’s tournaments, leagues, and recreational activities. USA Pickleball will use UTR Sports tournament management software for all events it owns and operates, including the 2024 Biofreeze USA Pickleball National Championships.
“This decision to partner with UTR Sports is a direct reflection of our commitment to enhance our tournaments and establish the best playing experience possible,” says Mike Nealy, CEO of USA Pickleball. “We’re thrilled to be working with UTR Sports to provide a platform that will serve our tournaments and players.”
As part of its newly launched Pickleball Amateur Series, UTR Sports will host two Golden Ticket qualifier tournaments, in Macon, Georgia from May 29 to June 2, and Denver, Colorado from July 10 to July 14. Players that win their respective divisions in these events will receive a Golden Ticket, earning automatic entry into the USAP National Championship in November, one of the largest pickleball tournaments in the world.
UTR Sports is the organization behind the UTR Rating for tennis, which is considered the gold standard for objectively and accurately measuring a player’s skills. Since launching the rating in 2008, UTR Sports has continuously refined its algorithm and software to ensure its ratings are as accurate as possible. In 2023, as pickleball’s popularity rapidly grew across the U.S., UT Sports adapted its industry-leading experience to create the UTR-P Rating. UTR Sports’ robust data analysis capabilities, honed by 15 years of experience in tennis, will greatly benefit the burgeoning pickleball community worldwide.
Furthermore, UTR Sports’ established network in the racquet sports world gives it an advantage, as it can leverage relationships with organizations that deal in both tennis and pickleball, removing the need to start from scratch.
By creating the UTR-P, UTR Sports provides all pickleball players an objective measure of their skills and the opportunity to play with players at a similar level. This results in more competitive and fun matches and allows players to improve much faster. As pickleball continues to grow in popularity, UTR Sports aims to make it easier for players to find clubs and groups to join and players to compete with.
According to Mark Leschly, Chairman and CEO of UTR Sports, the organization is keen on forming more partnerships across pickleball, further driving the sport’s development. These include the Association of Pickleball Players (APP) naming UTR Sports its technology, software, and rating/rankings partner and officially adopting the UTR-P Rating for APP tournaments and events. Another is the recently signed strategic partnership between UTR Sports and the Arizona Athletic Grounds (AAG), one of North America’s largest youth sports and entertainment facilities. Located in Mesa, AZ, AAG has over 40 pickleball courts, including four with spectator stands and a 2,500-seater main stadium. As part of the agreement, UTR Sports will become AAG’s official technology partner and will be involved in all of its pickleball operations.
“For over a decade, UTR Sports have proven its ability to establish the most accurate ratings, best software for tournaments and events, and continuous innovation to support all players and organizers. We have now established a new standard in pickleball with the most accurate rating to support all players and built the best software for tournaments, events, and leagues to unify the sport,” says Leschly. “We are proud to partner and be selected by USA Pickleball to support the continued growth of the sport with our next-generation technology.”
M&F and editorial staff were not involved in the creation of this content.

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