Institutional sponsorships, key in the purchase of the World Padel Tour in Qatar

It is the fashionable sport. There are more and more fans of paddle tennis and its associated industry does not stop growing. Proof of this is the purchase agreement of World Padel Tour (WPT), the largest international circuit, by the Qatar Sports Investments fund, who a few months ago had tried to replicate his model with his own tournament, Premier Padel. The memorandum of understanding signed by both parties contemplates the purchase of 50% of WPTowned by the Damm brewery group, in order to create the largest paddle tennis circuit in the world from next year 2024.

The World Padel Tour, which held its first edition in 2013, has based its growth model on getting as close as possible to the spectator and athlete and extend its presence throughout Spain, with occasional departures abroad. But this trend has changed over the years: the current season 2023 is already the most international in its history. If in the first season the players met in 16 Spanish cities and 3 foreign ones (Lisbon, Buenos Aires and Villa Carlos Paz, in Argentina), the current calendar has increased in number of appointments until 24but only half are in Spain, 12, with as many held abroad.

This year, the show has premiered appointments in Abu Dhabi, Paraguay, Chile and Germany, repeating its presence in Denmark, Finland, Belgium (Brussels), Austria (Vienna), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Sweden (Malmo), Argentina (Buenos Aires ) and Mexico, proof of the success of the format designed by SetPoint Events, a subsidiary of the brewery. A good part of the good follow-up figures of the WPT come from the new formats designed for the circuit: from the great masters with succulent prizes to the successful Open 1000; without leaving aside the smaller Open 500 and Challenger tournaments, which also award points to the ranking of players.

More expensive tournaments, but the municipalities pay

With these changes and in the face of skyrocketing popularity, the organization has been able to adapt to the interest shown by all kinds of cities and institutions, and the figures show how the caches it asks for to install its tracks have increased. The town halls have been and continue to be very willing to host this type of event, very striking due to the spectacular nature of the sport and the easy adaptation of the playing field to emblematic spaces in their cities. If in 2018 the circuit came to Murcia in exchange for 30,000 euros or to Melilla for 70,000, this year’s appointments are reserved for large towns that pay significant amounts.

One of the municipalities that has been betting on the WPT for the longest years is Vigo, who this year has paid €450,000 for hosting an Open 1000, the second category tournament. In 2022, this same tournament cost 160,000 euros to the coffers of Vigo and 85,000 to those of the Diputación de Pontevedra, making a total of 245,000 euros. In 2021, the government of Abel Caballero disbursed 110,000 euros. Alicantescene of the Open 500, a somewhat smaller tournament, disbursed in 2022 a total of €90,887compared to the 70,000 per year that it paid for the 2020 and 2021 editions (140,360 in a biannual contract in 2020).

Another of the essential appointments for fans of the shovel is the Master of the Community of Madridwhose regional government has just approved the sponsorship of the edition to be held in September: will pay 150,000 euros, 50,000 more than last year. The event also receives a monetary contribution from the Madrid City Council, whose exact data could not be confirmed by this means, in addition to making use of its facilities —this year it will be held in the Caja Mágica, but previously it was held in the Madrid Arena— .

But the administration that has allocated the most funds to attract this circuit has been the Junta de Andalucía, which allocated 605,000 euros for the organization of the Marbella Master and the Malaga Open. The first of both events also had the contribution of the local council with another 100,000 euros. Paddle tennis reached the golden mile of the Costa del Sol in 2018 in the form of a multi-year contract whose cost grew year after year: from the 10,000 euros of the ‘Challenger’ (fourth category) held in 2018 to 230,000 subscribers the following year for an ‘Open’, a figure that would grow to 255,000 in 2020 and 267,000 in 2021.

A growing business that continues to be unprofitable

That the World Padel Tour adds more followers every year, more events and better prizes does not come for free. According to the accounts deposited in the Mercantile Registry, the competition has gone substantially reducing your losses at the same rate that it saw its sales grow, but at the end of 2021 (last deposited accounts), SetPoint Events still not profitable and lost more than 81,000 euros. In 2017 these red numbers were 2.6 million.

The professional circuit accumulates a total investment of 40 million euros since its foundation, mainly developed by Damm, which in 2021 injected another 13 million to cover business losses until then. SetPoint accounts show how the WPT circuit has achieved double its sales figure in the last year: from the 5.8 million invoiced in 2017, it went to 12.7 million in 2021, with the brief subparagraph of 2020, when the pandemic halved sales due to the cancellation of tournaments and the closure of venues to the public.

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