Padel Project lands in Potters Bar

It started quietly with two courts in an affluent Lancashire seaside town but now the Padel Project UK has raced out of the traps, opening a new centre in Hertfordshire and announcing plans to develop a further 20 sites in what it described as ‘a rapid expansion across the country’. The Bandeja reports.

The business, which has London’s Will to Win padel entrepreneur Steve Riley as president and co-founder, together with joint founders James Ash and Tim Foster, has just launched its second site – two courts at Old Owen’s Sports Ground in Potters Bar – adding to its two courts in Lytham St Anne’s, where work is underway to add a further two courts to meet demand.

Steve told The Bandeja: “We have a highly ambitious vision to bring padel to everyone in the UK. I have developed a strong network in the sports world over many years and look forward to executing many opportunities for Padel Project UK. Potters Bar is a great new location for us and is already hosting lots of new players.

“The team is fully immersed in the padel world and knows what is required to grow. All our padel venues will be true to our core values; we will build centres that deliver a friendly, accessible and affordable offer that brings out the fun and social side of the game.”

Padel Project UK, Potters Bar
The new Padel Project UK courts in Potters Bar

Having established Will to Win (now Park Sports), which installed and operated padel courts in London’s Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, Steve is thrilled with the success of the Lytham facility. He said:  “We are so proud of the centre in Lytham St Anne’s. It was the first padel centre to open in the North West and has become an award-winning centre. We have ensured that it is affordable, welcoming, sociable and friendly. By encouraging new players to have a go, primarily through our free Sunday morning sessions, we are constantly making sure that the site is appealing to a wide audience. It is so important to attract new players to the game and not to rely on those who are already aware of its fantastic qualities. We are now developing two additional courts there to cater for the increased playing demand!”

Padel in the Park, padel players in Lytham St Anne's.
Players in Lytham St Anne's

Tennis replacement

Padel Project UK Potters Bar has two floodlit outdoor padel courts with capacity for more. Players have access to a clubhouse (rackets and balls can be purchased), a bar and Thai restaurant. A coach is available for group sessions, private lessons and free intro to padel sessions for those new to the game.

The courts replaced two derelict tennis courts and the Old Owens Sports Club has plans to build a cricket net adjacent to them. The sports ground is the home to multiple football pitches throughout the winter and cricket pitches during the summer, delivering fantastic exposure for padel.

James, who left a decade-long career in the City to pursue his dream of building a padel business said: “We are so excited to be announcing the launch of our newest site. The centre in Potters Bar is gaining players quickly and we strongly believe it will be a thriving sports and social hub in the area. The centre is open to everyone, we do not require membership to play.”

James Ash and Tim Foster, Padel Project UK
James Ash and Tim Foster on their new courts

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The Padel Project UK team believe it is ‘perfectly positioned for growth’. Joint CEO Tim, who has a background in property, project management and business growth, said: “We know the padel industry and believe the opportunity is huge. We have created near-term opportunities and are actively seeking partners to develop opportunities throughout the UK. 

“We are proactively targeting sports clubs with under-utilised space, local authorities with facilities and areas that can be developed, operators of leisure centres as well as private landlords with land and warehousing. We are also very keen to discuss commercial opportunities with other padel operators seeking funding, to exit the market or with planning applications submitted but no capacity to execute them. We can’t wait to announce further site launches very soon as we continue to deliver our vision.”

Padel Project UK’s business model is to own and operate padel centres. It  has secured more than £1.1m funding from Arbor Ventures and founders to develop sites for public use and community enjoyment in collaboration with sports clubs, local authorities, developers and through private landlords. Its aim is to target sites for four to six courts where it believes it can build padel communities and hubs. 🎾