NextShark Acquires Equity Stake In Bay Area Breakers Pickleball Team

SAN FRANCISCO - (May 22, 2024) – NextShark, the leading platform dedicated to Asian and Asian American communities, announces its latest strategic investment in the world of professional sports. NextShark has acquired an equity stake in the Bay Area Breakers, a team in Major League Pickleball’s Challenger Level. This partnership marks a significant milestone in NextShark's commitment to supporting and amplifying Asian American communities and initiatives.

The Bay Area Breakers, formed in 2022 by Mimi and David Mercado and Ritchie Tuazon, has rapidly become a powerhouse in pickleball. Originally known as the Jackrabbits, the team rebranded in 2023, adding notable investors such as Geoffrey Nguyen, Wayley and Kathleen Louie, Jeff and Stacey Nishi, and NBA star Jeremy Lin. This diverse ownership group, primarily consisting of Asian Americans, aims to foster the growth of pickleball within Asian and Asian American markets.

Jeremy Lin, renowned for his groundbreaking NBA career, has been an integral part of the Breakers' ownership group, bringing experience and visibility to the team. His involvement, along with other high-profile investors, underscores the trend of celebrities investing in pickleball. The league has seen a surge in star power, with figures like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Naomi Osaka, and Patrick Mahomes investing in various teams, elevating the sport's profile and appeal.

"I'm excited to work with the Bay Area Breakers to not just bring championships, but to create a franchise and culture built on teamwork, hard work, integrity, and love of the game," Lin said. "Can't wait to see what the future holds!"

"We are thrilled to join the Bay Area Breakers' ownership group," said Benny Luo, CEO of NextShark and a Bay Area native. "This investment aligns perfectly with our mission to empower and support the Asian American community. The Breakers' commitment to excellence and their strategic vision resonate with our values at NextShark. We look forward to contributing to their continued success and the broader growth of pickleball."

"The Bay Area Breakers represent the spirit of community and excellence," said Geoffrey Nguyen, co-owner of the Bay Area Breakers. "Our goal is to build a team that not only excels on the court but also inspires and unites the community. With NextShark's support, we are excited to elevate the sport of pickleball and make a lasting impact."

The Bay Area Breakers are currently ranked No. 1 in the Challenger Level, with aspirations to secure a promotion to the Premier League next season. The team's impressive performance highlights their potential and sets the stage for an exciting future.

Major League Pickleball has quickly emerged as a leading force in the sport. The league, which started with eight teams in its inaugural 2021 season, expanded to 12 teams in 2022 and and currently features 22 franchises. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, pickleball grew by 51.8% from 2022 to 2023, reaching 13.6 million players, while the Association of Pickleball Professionals reports that 36.5 million Americans played pickleball at least once in 2022.

As part of this journey, NextShark is committed to leveraging its extensive reach and influence to promote the Bay Area Breakers and the sport of pickleball. The partnership will foster increased engagement and visibility, particularly within Asian and Asian American communities, further solidifying the Breakers' position as a leading team in the league.

This Saturday, May 25, marks the grand opening of the Breakers' new home venue, The HUB Sports Club in Alameda. The venue, officially named "The HUB, Home of the Bay Area Breakers," offers an enhanced fitness experience with top-notch facilities, classes, and programs. Members have access to unlimited Group X classes, Barre, Yoga, and a fully equipped gym with luxury locker rooms, showers, a sauna, and a steam room. The Sports Club features eight indoor, state-of-the-art, permanent pickleball courts and a fully stocked Pickleball Pro Shop, with seven additional outdoor courts and a Bay Front bar and grill opening in early 2025.

An exhibition match at The HUB will feature the Breakers taking on the So Cal Hard Eights, this Saturday at 11 a.m., with live streaming coverage on the MLP and Breakers channels.

For more information, contact:

Geoffrey Nguyen
General Manager
Bay Area Breakers
(760) 608-9941

About NextShark:
NextShark, founded in 2013, is a leading platform for Asian and Asian American communities, offering news, business insights, and cultural content. Beyond journalism, NextShark includes NextShark Ventures, which supports Asian founders through strategic investments, and NextShark Studios, which produces original films, documentaries, branded content, and events, empowering and elevating Asian voices globally.

About Bay Area Breakers:
The Bay Area Breakers, originally founded as the Jackrabbits in 2022, are a professional pickleball team competing in Major League Pickleball's Challenger Level. With a diverse ownership group and a strong performance record, the Breakers are committed to growing the sport of pickleball and fostering community engagement within the Asian and Asian American markets.

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