Interview Nicolas Pinard, Manager of the Factory Sport Games in Chazay

- Can you introduce yourself please?

Nicolas Pinard: Yes, so quickly, basically I am a sports teacher, I have a master's degree at URFSTAPS in football with in addition a right to train second degree. Then, I switched to catering for 5 years. And then, from now on, I manage the Factory complex on the catering part and on the sports part: 5/5 football fields, squash, badminton and then the two tennis courts. padel interior plus the two padel to come up.

- What is your daily role in the company?

NP: It is a multitasking role: all the parts linked to the restaurant and then, on the other hand, to best develop all the sports facilities put in place. Everything that is promotion, events and activity ... It is difficult to combine but we try to do innovative things to retain them especially.

- When did you discover the Padel ? Your first step?

NP: I think I discovered the padel 3-4 years ago when it opened to Padel Central in Dardilly (now closed) since the people who opened the complex are very good friends of my best friend who did their communication and suddenly I went there to see what it was. Since I had done a lot of tennis when I was younger, I immediately hooked the padel. And it's true that we try to promote this sport as much as possible.

- Can we get an idea of ​​the complex with some figures? Overall area? That of padel ?

NP: So the complex is 5500 square meters, there are 4 football fields, 2 padel, 3 badminton courts and a squash court and to come there will be an outdoor football field and 2 padel outside and it's true ... a fitness / bodybuilding room open soon with the terrace and the indoor restaurant.

In terms of turnover, over this year, we will not be far from 450 euros HT.

- Over approximately how many years is the project profitable?

NP: The first two years, the complex was not profitable, it is after the third year that the project is profitable. This year, we will be in the nails.

- Why did you install land padel in your complex?

NP: We have installed padel in fact, that it was in development and that it was a new practice and that Jérome (the shareholder) wanted to have new things. He put himself in the wake of what he was doing with the desire and the certainty that it would develop.

- What are the links with a sport like futsal for example?

NP: Already, there are a lot of people doing both. After, today, in the development of padel in general, you have to take both sports, that is to say, for me, as soon as you open a complex, the structures must be multi-activities and allow several different sports to be offered. So you have to diversify in order to live and especially to survive.

- Who are your main competitors? Tennis Club ? Mind Padel ? Urban soccer?

NP: Today, from the moment Padel Central (Limonest-Dardilly) is no longer there, there are no more direct competitors. Saint-Priest, Spirit Padel, is not a competitor for us, it is too far. There may be the TCM5 a little bit and possibly Champagne when they go to class. There is a clientele that is there and that is loyal.

- What is your relationship with the brand padel partner of your private club? Are you working on different projects?

NP: We are with Head and Nox. Head because it's true that Johann Bergeron often comes here (Number one of the padel French), it was easier for us. But, we are not at all closed, we will bring in Nox and maybe other brands. We are not closed to selling and making other products to customers.

NP: At project level, we don't work too sincerely with Head because we are limited with the height of the ceiling. We cannot host approved tournaments. It limits the competition part quite a bit, but not the fun part. That's why we're building two lots of padel extra outside. With these fields, we will be able to do outdoor and homologated tournaments. It could really be interesting because there is a real demand for it.

- Do you have contacts with the FFT to try to develop the sport as well as possible?

NP: Not at all. Not at all.

- Do you think that they are putting all the necessary means to develop this new sport of rackets?

NP: No, I don't think so. I think they got it back to see scratch what there was to scratch so they wouldn't try to lose people. They didn't have a lot of willpower. It's exactly like the football federation which took over futsal, there is no desire to develop futsal. It's just getting back what's recoverable. Get the licenses back and they don't fly away.

- Is it possible in the medium term to have a reputation as important as in Spain? In terms of courts, practitioners and even licensees?

NP: No, I don't think so. Or else, we will have to wait a long time because today mentalities are not like that in France at all. Today, in France, we are used to taking a year-round license and having free access to the field. Today, just paying your license is not yet customary.

-In Spain we see that there are definitely more licensees padel than tennis licensees, more practitioners padel than tennis players. Would that be possible in France or is tennis still too inked?

NP: No, I don't think so because of culture, because of the cost of structures to be able to survive. Limonest (Padel Central), they filed for bankruptcy, Ans ça futsal also filed for bankruptcy… The economic reality is there too… I hope that Esprit Padel will take a long time but I do not know if their approach is as good as they hoped ... It is not easy to survive only in the padel, in any case, for my part, I do not believe it too much. Unlike Spain, where culturally the padel was very quickly anchored.

- Do you know the key factors in the democratization of padel in Spain or South America? Can they be similar to France?

NP: No, I don't know. I didn't get inspired. Afterwards, I really think that if it continues in France and we put a little before, there will be a lot of players from padel because it is a fun and really attractive sport. But unfortunately, sport is still too little known today. People don't necessarily know. We still have customers today who do not know the padel. They never heard of the padel.

And then in terms of training it is not developed either. In addition, one of the real constraints of this sport is that you have to find 4 players of padel and this is one of the bases of the problem because it is complicated. When you play tennis most of the time you just need an opponent.

-Are you satisfied with your fill rate for the padel ? How do you manage the famous off-peak hours? How are you trying to fill those hours?

NP: For the full hours, we are very satisfied with the hours. For off-peak hours, it is true that the problem is amplified because it is not very located, we are in a catchment area where there are not many companies so inevitably we only recover very little people at noon.

We try to fill those empty hours with internships, tennis clubs that come, there are people who come to play at these times after the development of these niches is a real goal. For now, we may not be active enough on the subject.

- Can you host tournaments approved by the FFT? Why ?

NP: No, unfortunately. This is not because of the number of lots but the height of the roof. We are unfortunately missing 80/90 centimeters to host tournaments.

- With the arrival of 2 other courts, what are you going to offer from now on?

NP: Well, we're going to try to offer more activities, it's also worth trying to give padel, to find a teacher and to start these courses yes.

- In terms of training, are you going to try to hire a teacher? Because we know that in France it is very limited ...

NP: For the moment, it is not in the objectives. I would be very keen to train myself and at least do some initiation. After on the competition part, we'll see if we find people.

-The professionalization of padel can it be a lever for the development of tennis clubs?

NP: I think that in any case all the tennis clubs that are in difficulty, would make a serious mistake not to install tennis courts. padel in their club. If they want to survive, they have to go. After, like futsal with football, people will come back to tennis if they are really fans of tennis, but we must not miss the movement because it is an additional financial entry.

-Do you think the Federation of Padel will become independent in the coming years?

NP: I don't know, if they are with it it is because they do not have the means to do differently. There is no obligation of the FFT but it is true that they have recovered the padel so as not to lose licensees and to have an impact on them and recover their games.

- What is your view on the evolution of padel since 5 years ?

NP: We can see that it takes, but it's something slow. The observation is that we are far from Spain. What is worrying, in our area, is that we see more complex of padel closed that stand or open.

Antoine Sarroste

Antoine Sarroste studied the padel. He offers us his expertise around the development of padel in France.