Top 50 influencers

Part 3: Top 50 most influential persons in the ”new” padel world


In recent years, padel has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity, emerging as the fastest-growing sport globally. With its origins rooted in Spain, padel has transcended borders, captivating enthusiasts across continents and becoming a worldwide phenomenon. 

From the proliferation of new padel clubs and facilities to the increasing participation in professional tournaments, the rise of padel in recent years has been nothing short of extraordinary. 

With the industry starting to take shape, sports marketing professional and padel enthusiast Freddie Hanbury looks at 50 of the leading influencers in the ever-evolving padel industry. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors.

Five articles will be published in the coming week, each focusing on people who have a major influence in the world of padel. 

The Padel Alto editorial team was not involved in the selection process. 

Part 1: Read here.
Part 2: Read here.
Part 3: 6th May 2024
Part 4: 8th May 2024 
Part 5: 10th May 2024

”New Padel Markets” Top 50 Influencers’ (Part 3)

Sofie Källström, 
CEO of PadelX Dubai

What do you get when you cross a floating padel court with the already-eye- catching Dubai waters? An even more eye-catching destination! Because that’s exactly what Källström’s PadelX Dubai did when they brought the world’s first floating padel court to the Jumeirah Lake Towers waterways in Dubai last year (it had to be Dubai, right?). 

As Saudi Arabia-based Källström said: ‘[This is] the first chapter of a, hopefully, long and wonderful story for us and a channel to build the ecosystem sport itself here in the Middle East.’ 

For PadelX, the shot of the floating padel court (developed by World Wide Padel alongside Pontech) became one of the most iconic images of the padel boom in new territories – a bucket list item for any discerning padel traveller.

Gabriel Perez Krieb 
Chairman of Taktika Padel and San Diego Stingrays

Padel has its on screen heroes but there are many people behind the scenes who don’t get the accolade they deserve. Gabriel Perez Krieb is one of those people. His influence in American padel is something which nobody can take away from him. He has personally supported the USPA for many years sponsoring the junior, open, and senior national teams to represent the USA with his company ‘Chosen Foods’. Without him, American Padel wouldn’t be where it is today, teams would have never been able to compete internationally due to lack of financial support. In the US itself he has committed to over 200 courts which is proving crucial to getting the next generation of players to pick up a racket for the first time. The current USPA Circuit is called the Chosen Foods Circuit which his company has also supported for many years. 

His heavy involvement with Taktika Padel and San Diego Stingrays as well as his years on the USPA Board have left him with knowledge which few can question. His sporting enjoyment isn't just restricted to padel with ownership in baseball and softball also other elements of an outstanding career in sport. 

If you haven't heard about this man before, you need to get to know as he is making a difference.

Andrew Petcash 
Founder, Profluence - statistical wizard and influential

Who could have foreseen that a former Division One basketball player would evolve into a statistical wizard? Petcash has defied expectations by boasting a staggering following of over 20,000 on LinkedIn, where his sports expertise influences thousands worldwide. 

His recent foray into the world of padel has seen him delve deep into the data, uncovering the driving forces behind the sport both on and off the court. Beyond its status as a mere game played by four individuals, padel has presented boundless opportunities for investment and community development. 

While data analysis and pattern recognition have long been staples in the sports industry, Petcash's innovative approach offers a fresh perspective on modern-day sports. His integration of on-field/court statistics with broader contextual insights paints a comprehensive picture of the sporting landscape, offering newfound depths of understanding for any sports enthusiast.

Houman Ashrafzadeh 
Padium Founder

Some of the wealthiest offices in the UK are based in Canary Wharf, London and so where else better to put a padel club (the new corporate networking sport replacing golf?) than London’s new financial hub. Described as one of, if not the, most attractive club in the UK, Padium is the current Nobu of the London padel scene. As a former financier and the Founder of successful London business Urban Greens, it is fitting that it is Ashrafzadeh who’s brought padel to a bustling business centre such as Canary Wharf – and with the backing of investor, Co-Founder of Spotify, Martin Lorentzon! Padium Canary Wharf won’t be the last, in fact it’s the first brick in a soon to expand Padium empire that will surely be setting the benchmark for the UK padel scene. 

Ashrafzadeh is a man with a proven track record, and big plans to grow this brand in the UK and overseas.

Elliot Carnello 
CEO Of Ace Padel & Co-Founder of LA Padel Invitational.

Palm Beach meets padel - what’s not to like? That's what this young visionary of the sport thought when he decided to launch Ace Padel in Florida. He Identified padel as more than just a sport but a lifestyle. 

Carnello is a family man who was brought up with sport being the topic at the dinner table. A former ATP tour player, now turned padel pro, has co-founded Ace Padel with a simple goal: to provide high quality facilities with a sense of luxury, ensuring an all round experience both on and off the court. 

Having been drafted for the San Diego Stingrays and being the co-founder for the LA Padel Invitational, Carnello has used his superior networking skills and knowledge of the rackets industry to help both of his businesses launch onto the scene and immediately gain the public's attention as he ventures on this adventure.

George Modler 
Founder, Golden Point Padel and Founder of soon-to-launch The Padel Directory.

Imagine being at university and having the courage to found your own business after spotting a gap in a trending market. George Modler did exactly that while in his third year studying at University in Bristol. He only picked up a padel racket for the first time in April 2023, but by November the same year he launched Golden Point Padel, the first student padel tournament in the UK. 

Truly struck with the padel bug, Modler travelled around Europe playing the game everywhere he went, sampling facilities and getting ideas for his brand which he launched on his return. With sponsors flocking in support of his venture, Golden Point Padel has now hosted several highly successful events with many more on the horizon. Many would have forgiven Modler if he stopped there but as a true student entrepreneur, in January of this year he co-founded his second company The Padel Directory which bids to connect the entire padel industry in Britain. In Modler, here is a padel prodigy to watch out for in the coming years.

Eric Loftus 
President, North East Padel

It is impossible to play Padel without a court and that is why we need people like Eric Loftus, and more companies like Northeast Padel. With Loftus’ parent company Cape & Island Tennis and Track boasting the title as America’s most award-winning court constructor (and with portfolio of over 3,350 courts and athletic surfaces to their name, and counting), Massachusetts-based Northeast Padel has all the hallmarks of being one of the padel construction sector’s “big ones” in the near future. The affable and well-connected Loftus is fast becoming one of the sport’s leading voices on this side of the Atlantic, through his insightful podcast interviews, conference talks and interviews. Yet, perhaps it’s his commitment to talking up the importance of a ‘quality first’ construction industry that sets his company and profile apart, with a clear dedication to ensuring the very best standards and regulations are made, and that padel in the US doesn’t cut corners in its hurry to build padel courts from state to state. 

Often dubbing padel as the “Formula 1 of racket sports,” and given his proximity to some of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in New England, expect to see Loftus’ company make their mark on the private residential court market just as much as the public court and club market.

Sebastian Brokmann 
Chief of Padel at Balwin Padel Entrepreneur

South Africa currently only has 400 courts but with potential to have at least six times that, Balwin padel hopes to use their huge experience within the real estate sector to boost the padel industry nationwide. Entrepreneur Brokmann is first and foremost a fan of the sport and has recently been playing with world padel champion Willy Lahoz and learning more about the technicality of the game. 

With his love for the game funding the passion for his work, this entrepreneur wants to continue to increase the level of the game across South Africa. In his role as Chief of Padel he understands that with over 10,000 players nationwide on Playtomic, there is a large capacity for the game to grow and with prize money for competitions continuing to rise, the attractive nature of the sport is not going anywhere.

Ryan Redondo 
CEO of Taktika, Co-Owner of San Diego Stingrays PPL

Ryan Redondo brings a wealth of experience in the racket sports industry, hailing from a family with a prestigious tennis background—including his aunt appearing at Wimbledon. As the CEO of Taktika Padel, Redondo stands as one of the early champions of padel in America, driven by his vision of making the sport accessible to players from diverse backgrounds. 

By July 2023, Taktika had emerged as the nation's largest operator, with ambitious plans to expand to over 200 courts within the next two years. Redondo's commitment to innovation is evident in Taktika's ground breaking plans, including the establishment of the first-ever padel-pickleball campus at the University of Northern California, demonstrating a relentless focus on sport development. 

Redondo's influence extends beyond Taktika, as he and his leadership team were instrumental in founding the San Diego Stingrays—one of the original seven teams in the Pro Padel League (PPL). With a track record of pioneering initiatives and a commitment to advancing the industry, Redondo is poised to remain a prominent figure in the racket sports landscape for years to come.

Christoffer Granfelt 
CEO of Instantpadel

Out of the box thinking is what has driven this Swedish progressive to the likes of Instantpadel courts. It was with Instantpadel that he made the headlines in 2021, by boldly claiming they could install a padel court anywhere in the world in 4 hours, even without major groundwork. Since that time, they have proven loyal to their word, building Instntpadel in some of the most staggering locations. Gleneagles, in the Alps, Westfield, Kuwait University and even on a boat. 

More recently, Granfelt’s company joined forces with Versacourt to create the world’s first padel and pickleball court (Google it!). These are just a few examples highlighting the amazing work of Granfelt and his company and expect much more needle-moving initiatives from them in the years ahead, as in this Swede, is an individual who will never settle for the status quo.

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