Luigi SperaFounder Padel Trend, was interviewed by Lorenzo Cazzaniga and shared the story of the new edition of Expo Padel trend, highlighting many new features. He is aware of playing a crucial role in a booming sector, stressing that there is still a million practitioners missing, and events such as Padel Trend are essential to encourage them to participate.

In recent years, Italy has emerged as a land of saints, poets, sailors and gamers. padel, with 8 courts spread over more than 700 infrastructures, bringing together 3 million practitioners! This rapid growth, in just five years, has aroused the interest of many organizers of exhibitions, now renamed the good old fairs, where players in a sector come together to do business, conclude agreements and discover new ideas. new opportunities.

Among all these initiatives, only one was surprisingly successful during its first edition last January. Born from the idea of ​​Luigi Spera and supported by the Next Group structure, the Allianz MiCo in Milan will host the second edition of Padel Trend from January 19 to 21, 2024 , with new challenges to face. Confirming is never an easy task, but all the conditions are there for this to happen, thanks to the accumulated experience, indisputable knowledge of the sector and the activation of numerous opportunities, both B2B and B2C, making Padel Trend an unmissable event for those who want to be the main players in the world of padel (and beyond). We discussed these perspectives with its creator, Luigi Spera.

How does the organization work? Padel Trend 2024 after the success of the first edition?

This stage is stimulating because there is a desire for growth. The new challenge is to transform it into an international event, with efforts to promote it in many markets such as France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, up to the United States , the United Arab Emirates, the Far East and even Australia. The objective is that Padel Trend becomes a global reference in padel, also extending to other racket sports, starting with pickleball, which is ready to explode in Italy as well.

Is it possible to create a racket sports fair in the near future?

Our objective, starting this year, is to become the gathering place to offer an additional reason for owners and managers of sports clubs to be present at Padel Trend. A high percentage of land padel is integrated into a sporting context where other disciplines exist, arousing the interest of people wishing to approach companies linked to the world of sport in general. THE padel remains our main actor, but Padel Trend also opens up to other sports facilities because a good club manager wants to know how to access pickleball, how to renovate a club house, how to find new solutions to make its structure more efficient.

What new features will arouse the most interest among enthusiasts?

The format remains that of 2023, so you are invited to come with your racket because during the last edition, we gave the opportunity to around two thousand people to play. You will be able to test new racket models, participate in a training course, attend exhibition matches and training sessions with the best players in the world. These patterns were very successful and will be replicated with even larger personalities. We are in negotiations with several brands so that their best ambassadors are present, because Padel Trend is a high-level showcase.


What is the connection between club players, businesses and Padel Trendy?

I think brands need to change their approach towards the end consumer, and Padel Trend wants to present itself as an important opportunity. A more intense and structured connection is needed: club players must form focus groups and actively participate in the development of this sport, as well as what motivates it, starting with the equipment and systems sector. Ultimately, market players remain passionate, and it is therefore essential to listen to their needs. In this sense, the padel must make progress, and Padel Trend may also represent a moment of reflection as I believe a business revolution in this sector is imminent.

What events should you expect?

There will be some nice surprises with important names, because the date is extremely favorable, given that the month of January is ultimately the only one without a professional tournament. The exhibition formats will be different, and I am particularly attracted to mixed: who, in tennis, does not remember the Hopman Cup with Roger Federer against Serena Williams in doubles?

Structurally, will there be any changes?

We have last year's pavilion again, and there will be room for six courts, maybe seven. If we had had to respond to all the builders' requests, we would have had to install around fifteen! Faced with this strong demand, we chose to add an additional 8 square meters, enlarge the stands and create an even more attractive exclusive space. Additionally, we will be upgrading the two pickleball courts which will have their own dedicated stands and plenty of support activities. However, we have decided to forgo retail customers, who will need to be authorized by the different brands to be present. This upgrade is important and further qualifies our event which is absolutely not intended to be an opportunity to empty warehouses and sell off stocks. We do not want to be a simple market, quite the contrary.

A priority aspect remains the conference program: what are you planning?

Among the many topics, one particularly fascinating conference will involve some of the world's most important coaches. They will share many anecdotes linked to their experience with the strongest players in history, but will also shed their light on new trends in training, approach to the match and professional career in the Padel constantly evolving. We would like them to explain these developments to us. In addition, sports training will have its own specific space.

At one time it seemed that many fairs linked to the world of padel were about to be born. Currently, it seems that you are the only ones left...

On the one hand, I'm happy with what we've created, but on the other hand, I'm very disappointed because there seemed to be a lack of will to create a system, and this is an approach that would have benefited all. In all cases, we have demonstrated that passion, without professionalism, competence and adequate budget, is not enough to create a successful event. A poorly organized fair is detrimental to sport, because it must be a moment of aggregation and overall growth of the movement. Padel Trend helps inspire passion for padel, which is fundamental, because our sport must not stop growing.

Do you still see significant room for growth?

Of course, there are still a million practitioners missing. Italy must aim for at least two million. After all, if there are more than four in Spain…


Which segment of Padel Trend satisfies you most or least?

Let's say that plant engineering is problematic because many companies have not yet understood that Padel Trend represented a business opportunity that went beyond just padel. Club managers should make connections with companies looking to showcase their entire portfolio. In this regard, we still face challenges. What satisfies me more is the overwhelming enthusiasm of the community for this event. We are not a concert but we already have more than two thousand people pre-registered at the ticket office.

Padel Trend positions itself as a business and consumer fair. How do you find the right balance?

For the 2024 edition, Padel Trend will extend over three days, and perhaps even four in 2025, in order to organize closer moments dedicated to B2B. I believe we have found the right balance in addressing the end consumer. In any case, the first edition generated a turnover exceeding ten million euros.

How many operators are planned for the 2024 edition, and what is the presence of the target audience?

We hope to attract between 27 and 000 visitors. We are delighted to see strong interest internationally, with inquiries even from Chile. As exhibitors, we plan to welcome between 30 and 000 participants, particularly due to the specific spaces. Our communication campaign will be massive, present in all national airports, cinemas, metros, information sites, social networks, and vertical newspapers. In 150, we reached 160 million OTS (Opportunity To See, i.e. the number of opportunities offered to an audience to see and understand an advertisement), which represents significant economic value.

How did you approach foreign markets?

We have engaged in direct discussions with associations and federations. Road shows were organized to demonstrate the appeal of Padel Trend, and these initiatives have also been deployed in clubs. We have established a virtuous circle, now reaching 6 clubs, mainly foreign, interested in commercial opportunities and entertainment.

Will new sectors be explored?

The discussions will take on an even more important role and will address new topics such as trauma and corporate finance applied to sport. A space will be dedicated to sports tourism, because active holidays are experiencing a growing trend, and players of padel certainly don't want to leave their racket behind when traveling. Padel Trend can connect accommodation establishments with both the end customer and installation companies to meet all their needs. We will also organize workshops, an area that we will increasingly develop.

What is the relationship with institutions?

The Italian Federation was enthusiastic in 2023, and we will therefore renew the partnership for 2024. We hope to do the same with the FIP, because Padel Trend could be the opportunity to launch the new season of Premier Padel. As for the Lombardy Region, it has expressed its desire to participate more actively in the promotion of the territory, and discussions are underway with the municipality of Milan due to the interest aroused by our exhibition. Padel Trend wants to be closely associated with institutions, but concrete actions are necessary.

Le padel will not be an exclusive sport at the Expo, as there will also be room for pickleball…

We want to ride the trend in the United States, where the boom in pickleball is sensational, thus providing increased visibility to a fast-growing sport. We will have a more structured space and events, and our recent experience at a fair in Rome showed the public's interest in this new discipline, with pickleball courts constantly crowded. It was particularly nice to see whole families enjoying this activity, with grandparents playing with their grandchildren. Pickleball will also have social value. Speaking of social aspects, we will touch on a very important topic.

Which ?

The negative impacts that the increase in prices could have on sports practice, a question that must encourage institutions to reflect, given that the pandemic has reminded us of the importance of sports practice. However, certain categories, such as students, suffer from the increase in playing costs, even if they could fill slots at times that are still semi-deserted and have the sporting qualities necessary to become regular visitors. But how much does it cost to play padel three times per week ?

Between 150 and 180 euros, just for renting the location. So, what alternative do you propose?

It may be necessary to study new formulas, as has already happened in tennis, which can transform the centers of padel from simple court rentals to real clubs. Membership allows you to play more at a fixed cost and builds customer loyalty. In any case, finding a balance between costs and benefits is essential to retaining players.

What message Padel Does Trend want to transmit?

We want to involve all the key players in this sector. Serious promotion is necessary to continue growing, in order to reach this missing million practitioners. Padel Trend is a boost for the market.

Gwenaelle Souyri

It was his brother who one day told him to accompany him on a track. padel, since then, Gwenaëlle has never left the court. Except when it comes to going to watch the broadcast of Padel Magazine, World Padel Tour… or Premier Padel…or the French Championships. In short, she is a fan of this sport.