Padel Trend Expo: the low-down
Tomorrow Padel Trend Expo returns to Milan with new features, more exhibitors and more visitors as padel booms around the world. The Bandeja has spoken to Luigi Spera, event founder, ahead of the expo’s second edition – and the first padel industry event of the year.
Padel Trend 2024
This stage is exciting because there is a desire for growth. The new challenge is to transform it into an international event, with efforts to promote it in various markets such as France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK plus further afield including the United States, the UAE, Far East and even Australia. The goal is for Padel Trend to become a global reference for padel, also expanding to other racket sports, starting with pickleball, which is ready to explode in Italy as well.
Racket sports fair
Our goal, starting this year, is to become the gathering place to offer an additional reason for sports club owners and managers to attend Padel Trend. A high percentage of padel courts are integrated into a sports context where other disciplines exist, attracting people interested in approaching companies related to the world of sports in general. Padel remains our main focus, but Padel Trend is also open to other sports facilities because a good club manager wants to know how to access pickleball, how to renovate a clubhouse, how to find new solutions to make their structure more efficient.
The format remains the same as in 2023, so you are invited to bring your racket as in the last edition, we gave the opportunity to about 2,000 people to play. You will be able to test new models of rackets, participate in a training session, attend exhibition matches and watch training sessions with the world’s top players. These initiatives were very successful and will be replicated with even more important personalities. We are in negotiations with several brands so that their top ambassadors will be present, as Padel Trend is a high-level showcase.
I believe that brands must change their approach towards the consumer and Padel Trend wants to present itself as an important opportunity. A more intense and structured connection is necessary: club players must form discussion groups and actively participate in the development of this sport, as well as what motivates it, starting with the equipment and systems sector. Ultimately, market players are still enthusiasts, so it is essential to listen to their needs.
We have the same pavilion as last year, and there will be space for six, maybe seven, courts. In response to demand, we have added 8,000 square meters, expanded the stands and created an more attractive exclusive area.
Additionally, we will improve the two pickleball courts, which will have their own dedicated stands and numerous support activities. However, we have decided to exclude retail customers, who will need to be authorised by different brands to be present. This upgrade is important and further defines our event, which is by no means intended to be an occasion to empty warehouses and sell off stock. We do not want to be a simple market, quite the opposite.
Among the many topics, a particularly fascinating conference will involve some of the most important coaches in the world. They will share numerous anecdotes related to their experience with the strongest players in history, but they will also shed light on new trends in training, approach to matches, and professional careers in the constantly evolving Padel sport. We want them to explain these developments to us. Additionally, sports training will have its own specific space.
Room for growth
Of course, there is still a lack of a million participants. Italy should aim for at least two million. After all, if there are over four million in Spain.
Let’s say that the engineering of the facilities poses a problem, as many companies have not yet realised that Padel Trend represents a business opportunity beyond just padel. Club managers need to establish connections with companies looking to showcase their entire portfolio. What satisfies me the most is the overwhelming enthusiasm of the community for this event. We have more than 2,000 people pre-registered for tickets.
For the 2024 edition, Padel Trend will extend to three days, maybe four in 2025, in order to organise more elements dedicated to B2B. I believe we have found the right balance by addressing the end consumer. In any case, the first edition generated a turnover of more than ten million euros.
Padel Trend in numbers
We hope to attract between 27,000 and 30,000 visitors. We are delighted to see a keen interest internationally, with requests even coming from Chile. As exhibitors we plan to accommodate between 150 and 160 participants, mainly due to specific spaces. Our communication campaign will be massive, present in all national airports, cinemas, subways, news sites, social media and vertical newspapers. In 2023, we reached 110 million Opportunity To See (OTS), which represents significant economic value.
How have you approached foreign markets?
We have engaged in direct discussions with associations and federations. Roadshows have been organised to demonstrate the appeal of Padel Trend and these initiatives have also been deployed in clubs. We have established a virtuous circle, now reaching 6,000 clubs, mainly foreign, interested in business opportunities and the spectacle.
Discussions will become even more important and will address new topics such as traumatology and corporate finance applied to sports. Space will be dedicated to sports tourism, as active vacations are experiencing a growing trend, and padel players certainly do not want to leave their rackets behind while travelling. Padel Trend can connect accommodation establishments with both the end client and installation companies to meet all their needs. We will also organise workshops, an area that we will increasingly develop.
The Italian Federation was enthusiastic in 2023 and therefore we will renew the partnership for 2024. We hope to do the same with FIP, as Padel Trend could be an opportunity to launch the new Premier Padel season. As for the Lombardy Region, it has expressed its desire to participate more actively in the promotion of the territory, and discussions are underway with the municipality of Milan due to the interest generated by our expo. Padel Trend wants to be closely associated with institutions, but concrete actions are necessary.
What message does Padel Trend want to convey?
We want to involve all key players in this sector. Serious promotion is needed to continue growing, in order to reach that missing million practitioners. Padel Trend is a boost for the market. 🎾