In Martinique, le padel experiencing a boom. Jean-Jérôme Izambard, Head of the Commission padel in Martinique, explains to us the challenges and opportunities for the padel on his island and gives us plans to increase the resources of local clubs and make the island a hotspot for padel In the Caribbean.

A program to allocate tracks to clubs that need them

“In Martinique, the padel really started to grow in March 2021 with the installation of the first three tracks at a private club called the Arena, as well as two other tracks managed by the League. Since then, the number of players has only increased in response to this demand. The Arena has added two new tracks, bringing their total to five.

At the same time, the League launched an ambitious program to develop eight additional tracks spread across several clubs. Currently, these tracks are being installed and should be all operational by the first week of June. This League program is a big step forward since it will allow tracks to be allocated to clubs that need them. So, in the space of a few years, we went from zero to seven tracks, and we will reach a total of fifteen tracks by the end of 2024.”

Le padel growing

“We feel a certain saturation in the clubs of padel in Martinique, especially during rush hours. Between 16:00 p.m. and 22:00 p.m., it is practically impossible to find a free slot, everything is booked a week in advance. This is also why there is this plan to add new tracks.

In the evening, while the grounds of padel are constantly occupied, our tennis courts in large centers, such as the League center which has seven, often remain free, especially outside competition periods. This clearly shows the growing popularity of padel compared to tennis.

Outside of these peak hours, there is still work to be done, in particular by adjusting the pricing policy, to better fill the clubs during off-peak hours during the day.”

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4 tournaments per month from September

“This year, we implemented for the first time a regular program of tournaments, ranging from P100 to P500, with two tournaments per month on average in Martinique. Thanks to the increase in the number of tracks, we plan to intensify this offer to around four tournaments per month from the start of the school year in September 2024.

The Commission Padel, made up of five people, works actively to organize these events. We have obtained these eight additional runways which are currently being installed, and we anticipate the addition of seven additional runways by the first quarter of 2025, which will bring the total to 22 runways. This development is essential for our project which aims to make padel a means of increasing the own resources of the clubs and the League itself.

The objective is to create a sustainable economic model that can compensate for the decline in public subsidies and offer a solid alternative to the expansion of private offers. We want to balance the sporting landscape by integrating the padel in our existing tennis clubs, which not only diversifies our activities, but also increases our income. This strategy will allow us to solidify our presence in the region and offer an attractive value proposition for our members and the community.”

Towards a boom in padel In Martinique

“For the next five years, I am very optimistic about the development of padel. We have already almost secured the necessary funding for new avenues, so I am confident that by 2025, we will have considerably increased our offering. Currently, with a population of 350 inhabitants in Martinique, we estimate that we have between 000 and 500 regular players of padel, and nearly 200 licensees specific to the padel. I think this number could easily double in the next few years.

Last year, we managed to exceed the milestone of 3000 FFT licenses, a figure that we had not reached for several years. I predict that we will quickly reach 2000 to 3000 practitioners of padel, with a number of licensees close to 1000.

The offer of padel is mainly concentrated in the central area of ​​Martinique, around the capital, which limits access for those in peripheral areas who sometimes have to travel 40 to 50 kilometers to play. However, with the recent addition of two new tracks by the private structure and increased communication around the padel, interest in the sport has exploded. Many athletes from other sports such as beach volleyball, badminton, table tennis and squash are turning to padel, especially since we no longer have a squash room. This helped expand our player base.

And then our geographical position is an advantage. We are located in the Caribbean basin, near Brazil and Argentina, and just a two and a half hour flight from Miami, we have the potential to become an important hub. We can be a real relay in Caribbean or American tournaments, and we have to use that.”

Dorian Massy

New follower of padel, I am fascinated by this dynamic sport which combines strategy and agility. I find in the padel a new passion to explore and share with you on Padel Magazine.