Padel Social Club Plans Flagship at London’s O2

Padel Social Club

Padel Social Club is launching at the O2 in Summer 2024.

The latest: The padel operator will build a 1.2K-square-metre facility complete with three courts, as well as a bar and cafe, at London’s famed arena. The development is backed by various investors, including Active Partners.

Unlike its pop-ups in Cannes, Soho House’s Babington House and Empress Space at Earl’s Court, Padel Social Club’s O2 foray is a permanent fixture.

For context: The UK padel market has ~250 courts but trails Europe’s leader Spain, which counts 15K courts nationwide. Given the popularity of squash and tennis in Britain, particularly the latter’s recent boom, padel is primed for growth.

Played on a 20M x 10M enclosed court with tennis scoring, padel is a familiar game wrapped in Brits’ penchant for post-workout fun.

Going global. Padel is gaining globally, rivalling pickleball’s US craze. Its soaring stature was confirmed by Qatar Sports Investments’ acquisition of World Padel Tour and subsequent integration into Premier Padel, creating one global competition circuit.

By the numbers: Counting 25M players in 90 countries, padel is tipped to be a €6B industry by 2026.

  • In 2022, ~€200M was invested in new padel courts worldwide, growing space by 28%.
  • By 2026, there will be 85K courts worldwide, double the current 40K.
  • France’s 1.5K courts will grow to 2K as President Macron plans installation of ~500 before the Paris Olympics in 2024.
  • The US padel market expects growth from 200 to 30K courts and over 8M players by 2030.

But… A cautionary tale, Sweden may have built too many courts too quickly, scaling from 300 to 4.2K in recent years. With excitement outpacing demand, ~90 padel-related Swedish businesses have filed for bankruptcy this year.

Takeaway: Padel’s outlook is strong. And the social and inclusivity factors could make it a lifelong favourite with users – particularly in the UK. However, as with any business, it’s important that the sport scales gradually to meet demand, or, as Sweden shows, it could lead to bust.