Billionaire Marc Lasry, Who Sold His Stake in the Milwaukee Bucks, Sees Pickleball Offering a Better Return Than Investment in the NBA


Billionaire investor Marc Lasry has shifted from the basketball court to the pickleball court — and sees it as a money-making move. 

The co-founder of Avenue Capital Group told Bloomberg Television he believes his investments in pickleball and other upstart sports leagues could offer a higher return than those in NBA teams.

"There's massive opportunities in sports — but I think those opportunities are in smaller teams," said Lasry, who in 2021 bought a Major League Pickleball team with former tennis star James Blake for $100,000. 

This year, the 63-year-old investor agreed to sell his 25% stake in the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. That transaction values the National Basketball Association franchise at about $3.5 billion. 

"Pickleball three years ago was [worth] $100,000. Today, it's $10 million," he said, adding that it's doubtful the Bucks' value will grow at a similar rate over the next five to 10 years. 

Pickleball is a cross between tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Its surge in popularity in the US over the past two years has made it the country's fastest-growing sport, according to a Sports & Fitness Industry Association report last year.

The racket sport has caught on among the tech community although Bill Gates has been playing it for decades

Lasry, whose Avenue Capital specializes in financially distressed securities and debt, also discussed with Bloomberg TV his plan to raise a sports fund to acquire stakes in teams and adjacent sports businesses while noting that he sees big opportunities overseas. 

This content was originally published on Business Insider by Carla Mozée May 17, 2023, 1:24 PM PDT.