An Interview with PPA CRO George Killebrew:

As the fastest growing U.S. sport, the population of pickleball players continues to grow rapidly, rising from 3.1 million in 2017 to nearly 15 million in 2023 alone. 

With so much hype, energy, and excitement around the game, we wanted to sit down with the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA)’s newly promoted CRO George Killebrew to discuss the sport of pickleball, his career + experience, as well as the role technology continues to play across the industry:

Getting to know George:

George Killebrew is a well-known sports industry veteran with previous leadership experience at both the Dallas Mavericks as well as Major League Rugby.

Follow along as we capture George’s story and hear what is top of mind for him and the pickleball world during this pinnacle moment in the sport’s history…

Q: What do you want people to know about PPA and the state of the pickleball industry?

Pickleball is the hottest sport and the opportunity only continues to grow for PPA to maximize on this momentum. Pickleball unites people because it can be played by nearly any age group and can be learned relatively easily. We want to capture this unified approach in the way we message at PPA. We are extremely proud to be the only professional sport with true gender equity and compensation. 

Brands have the chance to engage with a truly disruptive sport while aligning themselves to the values of equality and diversity that we embody at PPA. There is a world of potential out there!

Q: How have your previous leadership roles with the Mavericks and Major League Rugby influenced your approach as PPA's CRO?

My time with the Dallas Mavericks and Major League Rugby gave me tremendous insight into best practices for selling in sports. It also gave me a unique perspective on understanding the partnership ecosystem across various sports leagues and how they vary from one another as well as what similarities they have.

Because of this very reason, I have also brought DIGIDECK to every team I have been a part of to handle our revenue conversations. I truly believe in the platform and the impact it delivers in the fast-paced, action-packed sports industry.

Beyond the ability to demonstrate the sights and sounds of the game, DIGIDECK gives our team insight into what happens after we hit “send” on a partnership proposal. We can see exactly when every proposal is opened and which areas they spent the most time viewing. This gives our team the information they need to follow up with relevant content while ultimately closing deals faster.

Q: What are some of the unique ways PPA is using the sport of pickleball to create memorable activations and partner campaigns?

My favorite part about PPA’s Sponsorship work is that we customize every partnership to the needs, values, and goals of the brands we engage with. For that reason, every activation is unique and we have seen some very creative ones over the years.

We have everything from the Celebrity Pro Am with stars like Tony Romo and Scottie Scheffler to PBTV which is dedicated solely to broadcasting the sport of pickleball — all of which present unique opportunities for brands to be a part of. 

About Carvana PPA Tour:

Founded in 2019, the Carvana PPA Tour is where pickleball’s top athletes go head-to-head to determine the best male and female players in the world. The Carvana PPA Tour organizes and conducts tournaments at world-class facilities across the country, establishes player rankings, and showcases the world’s best pickleball week in and week out. Inviting amateur players to also compete and “play where the pros play,” the Carvana PPA Tour offers divisions for every age group and skill level. Characterized by a uniquely festive and fun atmosphere, Carvana PPA Tour events deliver unparalleled experiences for fans on-site, including pro player meet-and-greets, clinics, food, beverages, live entertainment, giveaways, games, shopping, and VIP upgrades.

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