Despite its global development, the padel is still plagued by financial inequality. The headliners ensure comfortable incomes, while conversely, the most anonymous must hang on to pursue their dream. What is the reality of the sector in 2024? Alix Collombon, Thomas Leygue et Julien Seurin take us behind the scenes of their career.

With nearly 30 million registered practitioners, padel arouses vocations and resembles a new El Dorado. However, this vision faces a major risk, that of precariousness, which is still far from being resolved. Our three guests agreed to tell us more.

Economically, stability to be found

End of 2023, Le Parisien had already looked at the “struggle” that the best players in France could encounter. Six months later, the situation has (a little) changed: it is possible to make a living from your passion, provided you limit excesses. “I'm managing to survive, I don't think I've lost any money. I hope that in six months, I will earn a little”, slips Julien Seurin.

thomas leygue saudi arabia

An opinion shared by Thomas Leygue, the French number 1 (photo). “The prize money varies. I manage to pay myself 100% even if I am not yet a beneficiary”, he confides. Proof that we must therefore arm ourselves with patience and courage before achieving the right balance.

Disparities depending on the country

Inevitably, the French are seriously behind the Spanish and Argentinian leaders. Their performances, their media exposure and their reputation are a real plus for sponsors. “Each player has different grades. They will have doors that will open more easily, because they are favored for events”, enlightens Thomas Leygue, who recalls the importance of “get active on social media”.

Coello Tapia victory Chile 2024

However, being Tricolor also has its advantages. “I think I earn a better living than a Spaniard or an Argentinian at the same level. The fact of being French number 1 and being one of the only ones to play in the final draw, with Léa Godallier, plays a big role. This is a positive point here”, judge Alix Collombon. “They earn less because they don’t have the same sponsors as us”, confirms the French number 10.

Hotels, transport, training: costs to anticipate

The life of a professional is not easy. Between the different tournaments and the numerous trips to be made, transport remains the main expense of our respondents. “This year, we have a significant budget in terms of transport (plane, train). We have been to South America twice for several weeks, that has a cost”, specifies Alix. “For the hotel, I am lucky to be supported, because I am in the final table, it is a small part of my annual budget. »

via padel cup 2023 hotel

Mental preparation and physical training also come into play, without forgetting… life on site, as Julien Seurin recalls. “We often have to organize at the last minute depending on the tournaments. It depends on the destination, especially since my hotels are rarely paid for”, he explains.

A colossal budget over one season

So, how much are the fees for a full year? “It's very hard to make an estimate because it depends on many things: if you want to live alone or in a shared apartment, if you prefer to have a personal coach or not. Some prefer to travel with stopovers with small companies, for example”, says Thomas.

Silver photo

The Aixois and the Melunais evoke a fork “from 30 to 000 euros”, while the Lyonnaise speaks of “50 – 55 euros”. She notices a real increase in recent years. “When I arrived in Spain seven years ago, we could complete a good year with 25 euros. We were mainly in Spain, and trips abroad were not far away: to Portugal, Italy... Today, we are talking about tournaments in South America, Saudi Arabia or Qatar, and it really costs more expensive ", she testifies. As it turns out, the globalization of padel also has its flaws.

Sponsors and prize money, crucial sources of income

Unsurprisingly, sponsorships and tournament winnings are the main financial windfalls for players. To generate more income, some do not hesitate to activate other, slightly more original levers. This is the case of Julien (photo) who shares his adventures with his 13 subscribers on Youtube.

Julien Seurin Youtube

“The money from my channel goes directly to the editor, there is no net contribution. However, it gives me visibility for larger sponsors and I can do product placements, commercial activations, invoice for events. Indirectly, this has a real impact”, launches the left-hander. In addition to exhibitions, there is always a fundamental solution: offering classes in clubs. “If we need money, we can also give it, yes”, approves his right-handed counterpart.

A lifestyle to perfect

What should be done to improve the daily lives of padelists? Everyone already has their little ideas in mind, starting with Julien Seurin. “FIP tournaments change regularly. We go to South America, then we move on to Doha: there is no real logic for the small categories. We also lack FIP Gold and Platinum, it's difficult to earn points for the Premier Padel », he laments. Thomas Leygue adds that in the event of problems, “there are also other circuits (like theA1 Padel, editor’s note) and the possibility of going elsewhere. »

ALIX COLLOMBON

On the other hand, everyone agrees on a very specific request: an increase in prize money. “Today, a player who is in the world top 50 must have several sponsors to cover his costs, but he or she does not earn a lot of money”, points Alix Collombon (photo), well aware of the current situation. “This cannot be done in one year. It is necessary that the padel is more and more seen and more and more played, all this will come with time”. And that’s all the bad we can wish them!

It was through his father that Auxence discovered the padel, one evening in June 2018. Today, he passionately follows the international circuit and teases the pala in his training club, Toulouse Padel Club. You can also find it on La Feuille de Match and LesViolets.com, two specialist media on Toulouse Football Club.