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KAYSVILLE, Utah, Nov. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Picklr, North America’s premiere indoor pickleball facility, announced the addition of their all-new leadership team to spearhead expansion. Charged with revolutionizing the brand of pickleball and accelerating the growth of The Picklr across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the new executive team has already delivered in securing over 110 new locations, innovative marketing campaigns and activations, and the development of 16 new franchisees in 13 states.

Joining Co-Founder, Austin Wood, and Co-Founder and CEO, Jorge Barragan, are new Chief Operating Officer Jonathan C Fornaci, Chief Brand Officer James Hurlock, Chief Growth Officer Scott Schubiger, Chief Financial Officer Josh Shelby and Senior Vice President of Marketing Kathryn Bullough. Together, the new executives will lead The Picklr as it continues its opening of facilities nationwide. Off to a fast start, the executive team has collaborated on a national giveaway campaign featuring Katy Perry, an activation at F1’s United States Grand Prix, and created a new brand anthem, all while attracting like-minded franchise partners and securing locations to bring The Picklr’s signature premiere indoor experience to pickleball players across the country.

“Austin and I started The Picklr with a vision of surrounding ourselves with innovative and successful individuals who shared our growth mindset and a love of pickleball,” said Barragan. “These accomplished professionals bring a wealth of experience and expertise to our organization. Their passion and dedication to Picklr’s vision will be pivotal in our continued success as a franchise company. With 110 locations sold since February, we know this team will lead us to even greater heights in indoor pickleball. Together, we are poised to bring the joy of pickleball to even more enthusiasts nationwide.”

New COO Jonathan C. Fornaci was most recently the President and Chief Operating/Financial Officer of Tru Fusion, a leading fitness franchisor. He has served on executive teams of private equity and venture capital-funded companies, including as the Chief Operating Officer of Punchh, which sold to PAR for $500 million, and President and CEO of Rita’s Franchise Corporation and Straw Hat Pizza. He has a proven record of rapid, profitable growth.

James Hurlock takes the reins as the Chief Brand Officer of The Picklr, bringing with him extensive experience, most recently as the Chief Partnerships Officer at F45 Training. As the Chief Partnerships Officer, James was responsible for driving commercial growth and business development initiatives and securing strategic partnerships and sponsorships, leading F45 to become one of the fastest-growing fitness franchises in history, with over 2,300 locations in 80 countries. James was also responsible for acquiring and managing brand ambassadors, including David Beckham, Mick Fanning, and Cindy Crawford.

As Chief Growth Officer, Scott Schubiger is responsible for overseeing the franchisees’ experience from their first inquiry through their location(s) opening. Scott has enjoyed a diverse and impactful career journey. First, Scott was immersed in the dynamic world of technology, working with industry giants such as Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard, while also venturing into the innovative landscape of technology start-ups. The subsequent two decades of Scott’s career were marked by a passionate commitment to the franchising industry, with an opportunity to lead and collaborate with a variety of franchise systems and private equity firms, including Realogy Franchise Group, Rita’s Ice Franchise, Lift Brands, Lunchbox Wax, Massage Heights, NRD Capital, and ZGrowth Partners.

Josh Shelby joins The Picklr as Chief Financial Officer with over thirty years of financial expertise. His career spans an impressive range of roles, from analyzing corporate IPO and M&A transactions at Bear, Stearns & Co. to Northport Investments. At Northport, he led over 100 investments and deals in technology sectors, with notable exits like Spotify, Uber, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instacart. In 2022, he joined RLK-PLG Investment Management (dba Ascension Financial) and holds a Series 65 license.

Intrinsically linked to diverse industries, SVP of Marketing Kathryn Bullough brings her wealth of experience to The Picklr from her role at Axon, a frontrunner in public safety technology. She pioneered groundbreaking marketing efforts there, crafting and executing brand campaigns and internal strategies. Before that, she led global brand marketing efforts at consumer electronics giant Skullcandy, developing and implementing brand marketing efforts across the globe for more than seven years.

“The Picklr set out to find the best people in the industry, and we feel we have done that. We believe that assembling the right corporate team is the cornerstone of The Picklr’s growth,” said Co-Founder Austin Wood. “Each new team member brings a unique skill set and perspective, contributing to a collective strength that propels us forward. We stand ready to embrace new opportunities and skillfully navigate challenges, securing a bright future for The Picklr.”

To learn more about The Picklr’s full leadership team, visit https://thepicklr.com/leadership-team.

At The Picklr, pickleball is more than just a sport; it’s a lifestyle that fosters community, competition, and fun. With over eighty state-of-the-art facilities, professional coaching, and a vibrant atmosphere, The Picklr offers an unparalleled pickleball experience for players of all skill levels. All locations offer state-of-the-art professional-grade outdoor surfacing, onsite snacks and drinks, and access to free leagues, tournaments, and clinics. Follow The Picklr on Instagram, XLinkedInFacebook, and TikTok for news on locations and contests, or visit https://thepicklr.com/franchise/ to learn more about owning a franchise.

pickleball and sports exclusive

John McEnroe, Drew Brees Join Pickleball Pros to Prove How Quiet The OWL Pickleball Paddles Really Are



First USA Pickleball Quiet Category-certified paddle reduces noise by 50 percent while raising the bar on paddle performance

CHICAGO /PRNewswire/ — OWL Sport recently unveiled the first USA Pickleball Quiet Category-certified paddle proven to reduce noise by 50 percent. Today, tennis legend John McEnroe and former NFL quarterback Drew Brees took to the court alongside top pickleball pros to showcase how quiet the OWL paddle technology is while demonstrating the paddle’s elite performance capabilities.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 21: > Drew Brees and John McEnroe debut the new OWL Pickleball Paddle on November 21, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for OWL Sport)

“I think the OWL paddle technology is going to revolutionize the game of pickleball,” said John McEnroe, OWL Sport ambassador and 17-time Grand Slam tennis champion.  “Unlike me, it is quiet but like me the OWL really performs and you know how much I like to win!”

Pickleball has recently been the source of noise issues in sound-sensitive locations across the country given the distinct staccato ‘pop’ sound the ball makes on impact. USA Pickleball created the Quiet Category to reduce the sport’s sound output by recognizing pickleball products that help diminish acoustic output during play without negatively impacting performance. The OWL is the first paddle on the market that delivers a hertz level below 600 and a decibel level below 80, delivering a 50% reduction in total noise profile.

To help prove the sound reduction to pickleball enthusiasts, OWL Sport popped up a court in a place synonymous with being quiet – the Refectory at Chelsea Square, originally built to house the General Theological Seminary – to prove that the OWL paddle can be used to play whenever, wherever. McEnroe and Brees dinked around with pickleball pros and players of all levels highlighting the various features of the the OWL paddle, including its vibration dampening layers for arm and elbow comfort, balanced ‘anti-head heavy’ construction for effortless maneuverability and proprietary Acoustene™ sheath. While the pair might be known for their athletic abilities and accolades in other sports, the pickleball craze is spreading to all corners of the globe and converting professional athletes everywhere to elite pickleball players.

“It’s no secret I am an avid fan and Pickleball player. Being newly acquainted with the OWL paddle, I can say I’ve really enjoyed playing with it” said Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Drew Brees. “It’s a silent killer on the court, and I highly recommend it for players of all skill levels. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the difference it makes.”

Not only is the OWL paddle receiving attention for its performance capabilities and ability to silence the competition while solving the noise issue, it’s also being lauded for its sleek packaging and unique customer purchasing experience (with more exciting products including apparel to come).

“I’m amazed at how well the OWL paddle plays – I couldn’t believe the shots I was able to hit. It feels so comfortable on my arm and my elbow, giving me the ability to play better and longer.” said Jessica Warren, former D1 tennis player and top APP pro player. “For me as a pickleball pro, I’m not as concerned about noise. I play with the OWL because it is the best playing paddle I’ve ever hit. I can confidently say that anyone who plays with the OWL will instantly improve their game.”

The OWL paddles are now available for order at owlpaddle.com, and players (and bystanders) should expect to see more rules and regulations set in place by HOAs and parks mandating their use. The OWL paddles are available in four SKUs to meet all players’ needs.

For more information on OWL Sport or to order the OWL paddle, visit owlpaddle.com or follow along on FacebookInstagramTikTok and X.

OWL Sport was created by a group of people who had a problem to solve: they wanted to play pickleball when they wanted, where they wanted and without having to worry about noise complaints. Much like nature has created the perfect predator of the skies, OWL’s unmatched team of engineers have perfected an elite version of the pickleball paddle that not only reduces sound output by 50%, but also provides players with a best-in-industry performance paddle for all skill levels. OWL paddles are currently the only pickleball paddles on the market that are USA Pickleball Quiet category-compliant. OWL Sport plans to continue its advancement of the racket sports industry through a relentless and meticulous commitment to innovation and superior playability. For more information, visit owlsport.com.

USA Pickleball is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of pickleball in the United States. Its mission is to promote the development and growth of the sport while sanctioning events and providing annual members with premier tournaments, educational opportunities, player rankings, official rules and other exclusive benefits. USA Pickleball is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that is governed and operated by a Board of Directors and a national office staff, who provide the guidance and infrastructure for the continued expansion of the sport.


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Joyful Thanksgiving: Celebrate and Give Thanks!

Celebrate Thanksgiving with joy and gratitude, as we come together to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.



Happy thanksgiving

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! As we gather with loved ones to express gratitude and share a meal, let’s take a moment to appreciate the blessings in our lives. It’s a time to reflect on the goodness that surrounds us and cherish the moments of joy and togetherness. Whether you’re celebrating with family, friends, or even virtually, may this Thanksgiving be filled with warmth, love, and laughter. Let’s remember to extend kindness and lend a helping hand to those in need, spreading the spirit of gratitude and generosity. Enjoy the holiday and create beautiful memories. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wilson’s holiday giveback focuses on enabling access to play at the YMCA; Special event for NYC kids to feature surprise athlete appearances

NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — With the holiday season upon us, Wilson Sporting Goods Co., the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance sports equipment, apparel and accessories, will be celebrating the “Gift of Game” by partnering with YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office for the 2,500+ YMCAs across the country, to enable access to play for kids of all skill levels and backgrounds.


“At Wilson®, we believe the spirit of the holiday season is about so much more than just the traditional exchange of presents. That’s why we’re encouraging our global sport community to give the ‘Gift of Game’ this year,” said Amanda Lamb, Global Vice President of Brand at Wilson. “Shared experiences in sport offer a unique opportunity to build bonds, foster camaraderie and enable access to play in a way that is truly representative of the holiday season.”

Wilson and its global sport community will give the “Gift of Game” to YMCA kids across the country through a donate and match program online and in-stores from mid-November through the end of the year. Consumers will have the opportunity to add $1, $3 or $5 to their order at checkout to be donated to the Y. Wilson, in year three of its national partnership with Y-USA, will match up to $25,000 in customer donations.

Money raised through Wilson’s “Gift of Game” donation will benefit local YMCAs in 20 key markets around the U.S. Funding will be used to provide more Y scholarships, enabling access to play by subsidizing more membership and youth sports fees for under-served kids in 2024.

As a celebration of the “Gift of Game” campaign, Wilson will host a day of play with New York City kids at the La Central YMCA in the Bronx on Saturday, Dec. 2. Each attendee will receive a Y membership, have the chance to experience different sports throughout the event and leave with special holiday gifts from Wilson. The participating kids will also get to interact with athletes and special guests expected to make surprise-and-delight appearances.

For holiday shoppers looking to give the “Gift of Game,” Wilson offers an assortment of best-in-class equipment across a variety of sport categories, including basketball, football, tennis, pickleball, golf, baseball and more, as well as Wilson’s iconic sportswear collection, featuring technical apparel for both men and women. Follow along @Wilson and visit Wilson.com for more information.

About Wilson
Chicago, USA-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., part of Amer Sports Group, is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance sports equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. The Company brings more than a century of innovation, history and heritage across many sports including Racquet Sports, Baseball, Softball, Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer and Golf. The brand also offers Wilson Sportswear inclusive of lifestyle and performance apparel for all to live like an athlete. Leveraging player insights to create products that push equipment and apparel innovation into new territories, Wilson empowers athletes at every level to perform at their best. Visit www.wilson.com for more information.

About the Y
Driven by its founding mission, the Y has served as a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community for more than 175 years. The Y empowers everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from, by ensuring access to resources, relationships and opportunities for all to learn, grow and thrive. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y’s goal is to improve overall health and well-being, ignite youth empowerment and demonstrate the importance of connections in and across 10,000 communities nationwide. Learn more at ymca.org.

SOURCE Wilson Sporting Goods

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