Rockville, Maryland-based table tennis equipment maker JOOLA has signed a sponsorship deal with top-ranked Pickleball player Ben Johns to help launch its new line of Pickleball equipment and apparel.
Johns, 23, is a Montgomery County native studying materials science at the University of Maryland’s School of Engineering. He’s also currently ranked as the number one professional Pickleball player in the world, as ranked by the Pro Pickleball Association.
Johns has won more than 50 gold medals in Pickleball tournaments, including the first male professional to win a triple crown at the Pickleball Tournament of Champions in Brigham City, Utah in 2019, followed by another triple crown win at the U.S. Open in 2021.
JOOLA is already a leader in table tennis equipment and apparel, and began a partnership with USA Table Tennis in 2012.
It is expanding to Pickleball equipment and apparel because of the sport’s huge rise in popularity.
Pickleball, a cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis, is the fastest growing sport in America, with an estimated 4.8 million people playing, and has grown from a low-impact sport activity for seniors to a professional sport, and recreational pastime for players of all ages.
The USA Pickleball Association reports the sport has grown by more than 39% in the past two years.
JOOLA becomes Johns’ official sponsor effective April 1. Johns plans to go full-time as a professional Pickleball athlete after graduating this spring.