By Bob James
The award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen were the driving force behind the opening of what is the first premier padel tennis centre in Aberdeen after the Lawn Tennis Association, in conjunction with Tennis Scotland, provided the charity with a six-figure interest free loan to bring the project to life with DOE Sport the main contractor.
At Padel Tech we were delighted to play a key part in the creation of the canopied facility through our provision of two new Red Sport Pro posted courts which have provided a concrete guarantee of the best possible playing experience on a posted court because of the strength and rigidity of the product.
With the project first mooted pre-Covid, the realisation of a dream which has brought padel to the North East and is already understood to have generated £10,000 and also enjoyed 70% utilisation since its inception, has provided indisputable evidence that padel can flourish anywhere in the UK.
Reflecting on all of that and Padel Tech’s preeminent role as a key driving force in the sport’s growth since 2016 our design and estimating director Andy Ponton shared: “The most exciting aspect is that the Aberdeen Padel Tennis Centre is the first fully funded site in Scotland that is run by an independent organisation.
“This has also demonstrated that you can work from the North of Scotland to the South of England, in respect of the product we are offering in terms of the courts, perfect for utilisation across the whole of the UK.
“From conversation with Tennis Scotland Westburn has generated income of around 10k and it just confirms everything that we keep saying to people, which is that in terms of court installation, capital investment will reap rewards very quickly.
“Really, on average, if we are talking investment of around £50,000 a year these two courts have generated 5k each already so all of a sudden it bears fruit and this is where the return on investment proves that if you do it people will come and play and so you will make money.
“Also the bottom line is that if padel can work in Aberdeen, where the weather can be challenging, then it can work anywhere in the UK.
“So a project which may have been a total capital spend of perhaps £300,000, will return on the investment and then into profit fairly quickly and there is no reason that can’t be rolled out across other sites all over Scotland and the UK.”
Yet as Andy added there are also further socio-geographic wins which have been provided by the Westburn Park development: “Now Aberdeen has the two courts at Westburn Park, plus two more at Strikers Indoor Football Centre, you have gone from zero to four courts in the space of a number of months and now North East as a region has a great offering for padel.
“This means people are no longer required to drive from Aberdeen down to Edinburgh to play, as we know they did, and a whole new community of padel players are enjoying healthy activity in their home city.
“While in removing the need for all that travel there is also clearly an environmental win there as well. Really these courts have an almost missionary importance for padel in the North East of Scotland as well as a unique importance nationally in Scottish terms.”
With Tennis Scotland playing a key part in helping to implement the LTA’s ‘padel development programme’ north of the border, court numbers are now set to double to 30 by the end of the calendar year.
On the back of the success of the Aberdeen Padel Tennis Centre the potential for more collaboration between Padel Tech and Tennis Scotland is something that excites Andy.
He said: “Aberdeen Westburn Park has highlighted that the affiliation between Padel Tech and Tennis Scotland can produce and generate top class padel facilities across the country and that there is a willingness from both parties to do so.
“The only challenge really is the capital investment required to deliver but as Tennis Scotland and Sport Aberdeen have shown this can be addressed through the relevant funding streams available from the LTA.
“Looking at another of our clients, East Glos which is arguably the premier racket sport club in the South West of England, they are looking to add three more courts less than three years since they had their first three courts built.
“While Sundridge Park down in Bromley are looking to add a third court to their existing development, so clubs are now looking to introduce increased capacity very quickly once they realise that while two courts is great they may really need up to five or six to satisfy demand.”
Andy also believes that the UK is increasingly mirroring the growth of padel which has spread so quickly across the continent and shows no sign of slowing down.
Considering this Andy shared: “Because of the network of companies across Europe, like ourselves, which utilise All For Padel and their court distribution model, this clearly demonstrates that every other European country has gone through the same growth curve.
“The most noticeable are Italy, Germany, Sweden, and France where they never had enough courts and now we are the same in the UK.
“Potentially we will go from 350 courts at the end of the year to perhaps being at 10,000 before we are close to saturation.
“So there is a massive amount of growth for padel across the whole of the UK ahead. “
Yet while the growth of padel may be impressive it is the benefits that the sport can bring in terms of injecting life into existing sporting establishments, while uniting diverse sports people through a news port that is accessible for all regardless of age, which is making padel for all irresistible.
Over to you Andy: “One of the greatest things about padel is that it brings players from other racket sports and also football, cricket, golf and many other sports together and makes life a lot simpler for members to stay and remain part of their club,” said Andy.
He continued: “Potentially when they are getting that bit older and can’t play tennis anymore they can continue and play padel.
“So padel really fits with a multi-sport club, be that existing racket sports like squash and tennis or other new ones like pickleball.
“Basically anywhere you have high footfall and a captive market then offering padel to your members is an easy win and as I mentioned a prime example of that is at East Glos.”
For all court enquiries please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or call 0131 581 8683.