On the occasion of the inauguration of Babolat Padel Studio, we interview Eric Babolat, CEO of his eponymous brand, the very famous Babolat. We had already received it on our microphone a few years ago, and 4 years later, he confirms his certainties about the evolution of padel.

A sport that is good for the head and the body

"In Babolat, we work for the long term. We like to study things and make them fit with our times. 10 years ago, the padel was emerging in some countries, notably in Spain. We accompanied him through product development, experience, life in clubs, players who are just starting out. We have done it with countries that are discovering this sport.

Today it is an adult sport, where there are not many children. We try to work a lot on this subject, precisely, with our partner at Club Med, which takes care of families. In the end, the padel affects everyone.”

Covid as a favorable factor

“Covid has accelerated two things. First of all, people realized that sport was good for their health. Then, they discovered that racket sports, notably padel, bring a playful and fun side. It almost becomes addictive. The acceleration of this sport is even more convincing than before.”

Club Med and padel : why does it work?

“Club Med was very interested in the family and accessible side of the padel. We are working more and more with them on this. They are investing and devoting more and more places to this sport. It ticks a lot of their “boxes”. Tennis does not have the accessible side that padel can offer.”

Club Med offers padel

“They are going to put padel in most of their spots. This is already the case in Seychelles and especially Marbella where the sport is developing massively. We are seeing more and more customers who come to spend a week at Club Med, solely to play padel ! "

“It renews the heart of our collaboration”

“We talked a lot. We shared our experience with them, in mature countries like Spain, countries where padel is developing very quickly, in Italy for example, or countries like France where the sport takes a little longer to take off.

We believe in padel always. It is not seen as a competitor to tennis but as another racket sport. Club Med asked us a lot about the type of public it reached. It renews the heart of our collaboration which extends from tennis to padel, which is a very important sport for the future.”

Le padel in percentage: what does that mean?

“Today, it represents between 15 and 20% of our entire business. It has grown by more than 50% per year for a good two years.

It is developing more and more, of course, but not to the point of already catching up with tennis. Tennis is present in 150 countries, compared to 90 countries for padel. However, I think that the size of the market for padel will surpass that of tennis by 2030 without problem. The room for improvement is exponential.”

“On sales to equipment distribution, it is estimated at 1,5 billion worldwide for tennis, compared to 250 million for tennis. padel. Everything comes together so that the padel expands. Obviously, infrastructure must increase so that people can play.”

A first in the world of sport

“This is the first time that a sport has had this development, this growth and this impact, in the history of Babolat, and sport in general. We are experiencing a world first with the padel. In sport, there have been epiphenomena like roller skating, but we have never seen them so strong or so big. It’s not a fashion phenomenon.”

To watch the interview in full:

Amance Redondy

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