He develops padel in the USA: ”The growth is completely unstoppable”
Alto talked with Marcos Del Pilar, the President of the USPA (US Padel Association), about the growth of padel in the United States.
— The growth of padel on a global level is a completely unstoppable phenomenon, he says.
International padel is growing at an incredible rate, surpassing itself year after year and managing to conquer new markets on five continents. To the already consolidated European and South American markets, the USA has also joined the practice of this sport.
The US market began to develop a few years ago, thanks to companies such as All Racket Sport. With the Spaniard Marcos del Pilar as its leading promoter, this company has expanded the sport throughout North America. Today they have courts in more than eight different cities in the United States.
Padel Alto spoke with Marcos del Pilar, President of the USPA (United States Padel Association), International Director of AFP University (AFP Group - Adidas Padel), Director of Padel of USTA (United States Tennis Association), and Director of Padel of All Racket Sports.
He gave us his opinion about the presence of padel in the United States and his vision of the future of this sport.
How did the idea of All Racket Sports start?
– All Racket Sports' adventure started about three and a half years ago when we decided to settle in the USA to promote this sport in all its aspects and offer a 360-degree solution to all those investors and actors who believe in the future of padel in the USA. This 360-degree proposal includes the construction of courts, the certification of technicians, and everything that has to do with retail: rackets, balls, bags, etc.
What has been the role of All Racket Sports in developing padel in the USA?
– All Racket Sports has been a pioneer in padel business expansion, the establishment of the business model, and the growth of facilities in the USA. We have developed many projects in different parts of the USA, apart from other promotional actions, with enormous visibility, with a turnout, and with an exposition that, in the last three and a half years, have guaranteed the consistency that there was a business option, which everyone in the racket sports industry should explore.
All Racket Sports is an American company whose main partners are All For Padel, the Adidas padel licensee worldwide. In the area of certification, we have managed to close endorsements with the USPTA, the largest organization of racket sports technicians globally, with almost 15,000 technicians; and the support of the USPA, which is the American Association of padel, of which I am president.
As the President of the USPA, how do you see padel's growth globally, particularly in the USA?
– The growth of padel on a global level is a completely unstoppable phenomenon. I think I am not discovering anything by saying this, especially with all the things happening in recent times. More than 90 countries are already playing padel, the scalability in the model is now at "tipping point" or the point of no return, where the flourishing of facilities and opportunities for both coaches and players, as well as for circuits, is truly unstoppable.
”This is the mission of the USPA.”
– In the United States, I think we are close to that “tipping point.” For me, 2022 is an important year, in which we are going to practically double the number of facilities, and 2023 will be the year in which we all witness a growth unknown until today. Many international groups are interested in gaining a foothold in the North American market. I believe that very soon we are going to receive good news, and this will make us important members in this unstoppable process that is happening all around the world, also in the United States.
It is 330 million inhabitants in the USA, which means that with a tiny percentage of the population playing, we would multiply the number of players with all this involved. This is the mission of the USPA: to encourage participation and give exposure to the sport, assist the work in the clubs already built, and help the arrival of large investors in the USA with a stable, sustainable, and scalable business model. Thus multiplying the opportunities for all.
In your opinion. How is padel currently positioned in relation to other racket sports in the United States?
– Padel is, without doubt, a great alternative to this new concept of multi-racket sport. The facilities are evolving from a concept of unique tennis facilities towards a more multidisciplinary concept, focused on different racket sports, with which we align ourselves from the first moment. The idea was always to create an environment where we can create opportunities and encourage revenue generation for the facilities. The concept of racket multi-sports makes perfect sense. Explicitly focusing on padel, it is pretty simple to attract that "blue ocean,"… i.e., that target of people who have never been attracted to other racket sports. That’s because besides all the benefits of padel.
– It's very easy to play, it's straightforward to understand, you don't need spectacular skills to start, and everyone can play from day one - It is a very social sport, it also promotes a feeling of belonging; furthermore, it facilitates the interaction between club members and the client commitment. In addition, it is an excellent exercise. You burn calories in a safe environment.
”Three padel courts in a tennis court”
– Added to all this, there is the subject of using the real state. It is easy to understand that it is much more profitable, played in a smaller space. For example, you can practically place three padel courts on a tennis court. This at the level of return on investment, well... the numbers come out on their own… you would have 12 people paying a ticket, instead of two.
– I would say that in terms of recognition, padel is renowned in the USA, with a model of business more than corroborated, and we have been doing it for several years. There are other sports, such as picket ball, beach tennis, pop tennis, and others. But we stand by the padel proposal, with all the benefits that it involves. Focusing on the response has been in other countries, it is easy to understand that the scalability of the activity is very high. We have validated the model in many places in the United States: Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, even in the Bahamas and the return is always the same. Therefore, there is an open door for the American market for anyone who wants to explore it.
For the USA padel, what does it mean to host important worldwide levels championships, such as the Senior World Cup in Las Vegas or the WPT Miami Open?
– Any tournament of this level held in the United States is undoubtedly another big step. They help us catalyze the level of exposure and increase participation to reach the level we want to be. That has been the Mantra for me during the last four years that I have been in the USA. To try to create the environment, the opportunities and facilitate the arrival of large investors. And we are at that point right now.
To have the chance of organizing the Senior World Championship - hosted by the FIP-which will be held in Las Vegas from March 28 to April 2, is an unprecedented opportunity for USPA.