La Chiquita Padel interviewed Alex Ponseti, Managing Director of the Padel World Summit with the aim of explaining the situation of the biggest international event for professionals in the padel sector.
Interview with Alex Ponseti, Managing Director of Padel World Summit
- What inspired the creation of the World Padel Summit and what is its main objective?
The Padel World Summit was born out of the need for brands, manufacturers and padel professionals to professionalise the sport. There is a need to grow in a sustainable way, to establish regulations and find a way to connect countries with great potential for the growth of padel. All this made us see the need to create an event to bring them all together. To create a great networking event so that all the companies in the world have the opportunity to connect with others and learn how to make padel a profitable business, find synergies and new opportunities.
- What is the differential value compared to other padel fairs that have already been held in Sweden or Italy?
These fairs are open to the entire public, both business -B2B- and final consumer -B2C-. From the beginning, as the Cluster has associates who are the brands that represent the business, we saw the need to hold an event exclusively for the B2B business. Moreover, we did not want to do just a fair, we wanted a complete experience, with a Congress, an Expo and Parallel Activities.
- Why did you decide to incorporate the congress part, and what topics will be addressed?
A congress this big and B2B has not been done before. We saw the great need to generate debates, interviews… Great presentations to learn and improve the business.
- Tell us a little about how the three main axes of the PWS work?
The Padel Summit is made up of three main areas. The Padel World Congress, the Padel Business Expo and the Parallel Activities. The Padel World Congress will be the first congress for padel professionals where there will be dialogues, presentations, round tables… The aim is to learn how to make padel a profitable business, about outsourcing, about scalability, about creating a padel club, about health… To share experiences in sustainability, new technologies… To find new ways to make the sport even better, also from the point of view of professional players and coaches.
On the other hand, the Padel Business Expo is the first B2B exhibition and is to generate networking, business opportunities. To attract investors, entrepreneurs, distributors and professionals from all over the world to attend the show and do business.
Finally, all this will coexist with a programme of activities throughout the week.
- What kind of complementary activities will be offered during the padel week?
Since we are in Malaga and it will be in May… We are going to make the most of it. There will be a set of parallel activities so that during the whole week the attendees can enjoy the space. For example, with an amateur padel tournament, a gala dinner, the Padel Awards… And other activities that we are working on.
- What is the current state of the PWS organisation?
We have gone in phases. The most important thing was to open the opportunity to expose and collaborate with the Summit to the partners and the rest of the companies linked to padel. It has been incredible because in a few hours there has been a great response. This comforts us because we see that what we are doing makes sense. We want to consolidate this part and start working on the congress part.
- How is the congress organised? Themes, speakers…
We have created a scientific committee made up of a group of experts in different fields and from different parts of the world related to padel to help us choose the best topics and the best speakers for each of them.
- What are your expectations in terms of public and professional attendance in the first year?
We set an initial target of 4,000 attendees, on the understanding that they are all professionals. It’s a very filtered and high-value audience. We hope to be able to exceed it.
- What networking and collaboration opportunities will be provided to attendees during the event?
We are talking to people from other countries like the UK or the US and their big question, for example, is how to make a club profitable. And we tell them, come to the Summit because you will find the answer. Because you will have the talks and the contact with other professionals in the sector.
In the expo area we will have an app for all attendees. You create your profile, look for companies that might interest you and there you can book interviews and meetings. It would be like a match.
- Why Malaga?
The answer is very obvious. Malaga is an ideal place because of the climate, we believe that the first edition had to be in Spain because it is the heart of the industry and because it is an ideal place in terms of connections and logistics.
- What is the long-term vision for the Padel World Summit, do you have plans to make it an annual event or expand it internationally?
Almost every week we talk about the future, we want to have a vision of where we want to go. We are sure that the first edition will be a success. Now we still have to decide whether it will be an annual event, whether it will rotate geographically or not. We see it as a viable event that can be held in different parts of the world, but first we need to do very well in the first edition.
- What challenges have you encountered so far?
At the moment there are the day-to-day challenges, and we will encounter many more. But so far it’s been great because we are receiving very positive feedback. All the brands are getting involved in the Summit, professionals from other countries want to attend and collaborate…
- Which countries are responding best?
Right now the countries that are getting the most good feedback are the United Kingdom, the United States and Asia. In Asia there is a lot of interest, padel has barely been born, but they are very attentive and interested in knowing what is happening. Then there are other countries where padel has already boomed, such as Italy, Sweden, Holland… Countries that are already starting to mature.
- Are you working with padel federations and associations to promote and support the Padel World Summit?
We have an agreement with the Spanish Federation, we have their support. And now we have to make contact with the regional federations and the national federations of each country. We would even love to reach an agreement with the FIP.
- Padel is a very new sport, this is the first time something like the PWS has been organised… Do we have to learn from sports like tennis or should padel lead in terms of innovation and opportunities?
We have to learn a lot from tennis because at the professional level it is a much more consolidated sport and at the industry level it continues to grow. But it is true that padel, being such a young and modern sport, is also a mirror for other sports. Padel must position itself as the sport of the 21st century. A sustainable, equitable, inclusive sport, focused on new technologies and Artificial Intelligence.
- In other words, to position itself as the sport of the present and of the future…
We have a great opportunity to join the new technologies and be a benchmark and current sport. It should be the sport of reference in terms of sustainability, inclusion, innovation and new technologies. Padel has to lead this market.