In a ground-breaking move that promises to reshape the world of padel, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), the owner of Paris Saint-Germain, have struck a deal to acquire the World Padel Tour (WPT) and establish a new global padel tour.
This development underscores the growing influence of the Gulf in the international sports arena. It also marks a significant milestone in the history of padel, one of the world’s fastest-growing sports.
We explain why this is a huge moment for the padel, how the WPT will shape up, and whether we should be worried…
A New Era for Padel
The purchase of WPT from Damm, the owner of Setpoint Events responsible for organising the tour, will lay the foundation for a new global Premier Padel tour, set to debut in the near future. While the financial specifics of the deal remain undisclosed, insiders anticipate full details to be made known soon.
Following this landmark agreement from Qatar, Premier Padel and WPT will merge into a single, cohesive global professional padel tour, aptly named ‘Premier Padel’. The new tour will be under the governance of the International Padel Federation (FIP). The culmination of this deal reflects months of negotiations between the involved parties. It promises to resolve longstanding disputes affecting QSI, FIP, and professional padel players who have participated in both tours. The finalisation of the agreement is contingent upon customary regulatory approvals.
For the remainder of 2023, both WPT and Premier Padel will continue as separate entities, operating as planned. The consolidation of these competitions into a unified Premier Padel global tour, overseen by FIP, is slated to commence in 2024.
World Padel Tour: A Decade of Excellence
Founded in 2013, World Padel Tour, recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. The WPT have consistently held the mantle of the sport’s premier tour. Over the years, it has featured more than 26 men’s and women’s tournaments across 14 countries. It’s also boasted an impressive roster of 17 global sponsors.
With television broadcasting rights extending to over 150 countries and a social media following nearing the 4 million mark, WPT has been instrumental in driving padel’s global popularity.
Premier Padel: A Meteoric Rise
Launched just last year in 2022, Premier Padel has rapidly emerged as one of the most dynamic tours in the world of sports. Within its inaugural year, it drew in over 500 players from around the globe, hosting tournaments in iconic venues like Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. Premier Padel’s remarkable ascent is further underscored by multi-year broadcast agreements encompassing 180+ countries and reaching over 150 million households.
The 2022 Premier Padel season alone garnered a staggering 22.7 million views on YouTube. In March of this year, over 110 leading professional female players joined the Premier Padel ranks, cementing its status as a tour to watch.
QSI: A Force in the Sports World
Qatar Sports Investments’ acquisition of WPT is a bold declaration of its sporting ambitions. This move follows the state’s successful hosting of the men’s World Cup the previous year and adds to QSI’s diverse portfolio, which includes ownership of Paris Saint-Germain and a substantial stake in Portugal’s Sporting Braga football club.
These endeavours underscore Qatar’s commitment to becoming a prominent player on the global sports stage. Additionally, the chairman of the Association of Tennis Professionals recently revealed discussions with QSI’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) about potential investments in men’s tennis. This signals the Gulf region’s growing influence in various sports and its commitment to making significant contributions to the world of athletics.
Navigating the Sportswashing Debate
While Gulf-based sporting investments have made waves in international sports, they have also faced criticism for their role in “sportswashing,” a term used to describe attempts to deflect attention from human rights concerns. These concerns underline the importance of holding sports organisations and investors accountable for their actions, ensuring that sport remains a vehicle for positive change and inclusivity.
In conclusion, Qatar Sports Investments’ acquisition of the World Padel Tour and the subsequent creation of the Premier Padel tour represent a transformative moment for padel enthusiasts worldwide. This merger promises to elevate the sport to new heights, providing more opportunities for players and fans alike to engage with this exciting and rapidly growing game.
As the Gulf region continues to make its mark in the sports world, it is imperative to maintain a critical eye on the broader implications and responsibilities that come with such investments, ensuring that the power of sports remains a force for good on the global stage.
What do you think? Is the consolidation of the WPT and Premier Padel a good move for padel? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any questions get in touch with us now!