All numbers are going up. At the end of 2021, there were 295 clubs in Belgium, which is 50 percent more than 181 in 2020. As a result, the number of padel stadiums doubled from 524 in 2020 to 1,088 in 2021, and the number of competitors’ players also increased. At a rate of two, from just under 11,000 in 2020 to just over 22,000 last year. The total number of affiliated members of the Padel Club grew from 27,000 in 2020 to 71,700 in 2021, which is more than doubled. In terms of members, it only concerns numbers in Flanders.
“In organized sports, the alternative is already strong in the top five. If you see it after six years, it is invisible. This has never happened before,” explains Gijs Koken, CEO of Tennis Vlaanderen.
Meanwhile, the number of clubs continues to grow, because there are already 330 clubs. The number of padels in Belgium now stands at 1,313. In Flanders there are 15,000 new members this year. Sure enough, the ceiling hasn’t been reached yet.
“Where is the challenge now? I think the actual group of players is twice as large in Flanders. In tennis there is a system in which organs are connected, but in Padel it is not yet well proven. In some clubs, only the competing players are connected”, as Coken says.
The comparison with tennis you do not need yet. The sport is still too young for that. The two sports are often related to each other, but the exchange sometimes separates from them as well.
“You often see a mixture of tennis and padel within a club, and this has become very popular. There are also pure tennis and padel clubs, but padel clubs are also being set up as well as, for example, hockey clubs, fitness rooms or golf clubs. In this way You see a number of combinations that you didn’t have before,” says Kooken.
Finally, Tennis CEO Vlaanderen is calling for more investments in the premium sport. Since Padel is not an Olympic sport, she doesn’t get that support either. For the national teams, which belong to the top 10 in the world, they now only have the National Lottery as a partner.