Olympic hopes renewed as Premier Padel strikes WPT deal
Premier Padel has bought the World Padel Tour (WPT), bringing to a close months of rancour, speculation and legal threats and paving the way once again for a single global professional padel tour.
All tournaments will run as planned this year, with the unified Premier Padel tour – governed by the International Federation of Padel (FIP) – starting in 2024.
Neither Premier Padel nor WPT have indicated the value of the deal.
The World Padel Tour is now beginning a new stage led by QSI, who will contribute to speeding up the tour’s international growth. Damm is proud to have contributed to the development of professional padel.
Demetrio Carceller Arce, Damm Executive Chairman
What we can expect from 2024:
Up to 24 worldwide tournaments
Majors, P1 and new P2 ranked events, each with different prize money & ranking points
Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, chairman of Qatar Sports Investments-owned Premier Padel said in a statement: “This is a historic moment for the sport of padel. As the fastest-growing sport globally, QSI is proud to be at the heart of driving the development of padel professionally worldwide, always placing the players at the center of our mission to grow the sport everywhere.”
FIP also described the agreement between Premier Padel, itself, the Professional Players’ Association and Damm, owner of WPT owner Setpoint Events, as ‘historic’ and drew attention to the federation being involved in what it called the ‘race’ for recognition of padel at the Olympics.
On the FIP website, President Luigi Carraro said: “The FIP will have a huge and a big responsibility in governing, from 2024, the unified Premier Padel circuit that is born from the merger of the latter with World Padel Tour, but we have worked for this historic moment in recent years and will continue to do so for the growth of our sport.
“Over the years, from the success of our sport at the European Games, a success recognised by the heads of the European Olympic Committees, to the success of the Cupra FIP and Premier Padel circuits around the world, our work in collaboration with the national federations of the FIP family has produced results that were unthinkable until a while ago.”
Demetrio Carceller Arce, Damm’s Executive Chairman, said: “The World Padel Tour is now beginning a new stage led by QSI, who will contribute to speeding up the tour’s international growth. Damm is proud to have contributed to the development of professional padel, making the World Padel Tour a global benchmark, with over 4 million followers. This has helped padel become the world’s fastest growing sport in recent years, with very positive progress for the entire padel industry.”
Premier Padel launched in 2022 backed by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which also owns French football club Paris Saint-Germain. Governed by FIP and supported by the Professional Players’ Association, the tour offered big prize money and high profile tournaments.
The World Padel Tour has roots stretching back to 2005 and was officially named the WPT in 2013. It was owned, via Setpoint Events, by Spanish beer company Estrella Damm. Last year was the tour’s biggest to date, with more than 30 ranked tournaments in some 13 countries and growing spectator numbers.
With padel recognised as one of the world’s fastest growing sports there has been a lot to play for, not least lucrative global TV rights, sponsorship deals and the kudos of being the lead global circuit.
Following the launch of Premier Padel, WPT moved to protect its interests via the courts, with action launched against QSI, FIP and the PPA. However, a Spanish court rejected WPT’s case and the tour softened its stance, increasing prize money and offering to remove exclusivity clauses for players signing with it.
Earlier this year a Premier Padel spokesman said: “In light of the common missions of Premier Padel, FIP, and PPA to develop the sport to the next level globally, the parties have agreed to enter talks with Damm to explore the possible collaborations and outcomes.”
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has called for a unified ranking system, which could now be on the table, together with a tournament structure that offers maximum opportunities for players to achieve world ranking points. 🎾