Action Padel Co-Owners Brit King and Katherine Hartmann are Excited to be a Part of Success in the Sport

When it comes to a sport that has grown exponentially, Padel is right at the top of the list. Since it was first played in Val de Vie in Paarl, South Africa, it has seen an expansion second to none. The social aspect of the game is part of its popularity, as you it allows to socialise while getting some exercise. Photo: Action Padel on Instagram

When it comes to a sport that has grown exponentially in recent times, it’s a certainty that ‘Padel’ will be counted right at the top of the list and, since it was first played in Val de Vie in Paarl, South Africa, it has experienced an expansion second to none. 

The social aspect of the game is an integral part of its popularity, allowing participants to socialise, while also getting exercise. 

“It’s incredible to have seen the few players we started with, it has just boomed and it’s all over the country now, and every time you turn around, there is another court going up. The age groups that it covers, are from little kids to grandparents, it’s such a great sport.”

Brit King, co-owner of Action Padel in Century City with Katherine Hartmann

The sport might be seen as something of a modern invention but it is said to have started back in 1968 by Mexican businessman Enrique Corcuera, according to the Lawn Tennis Association. 

There are also reports that a similar game was played in the 19th century, by passengers aboard British cruise ships. However, it was Corcuera who created a court with four walls, and that is how the game of Padel was born. 

It was women entrepreneurs Brit King and Katherine Hartmann, co-owners at the Action Padel in Century City, Cape Town, who brought the first proper Padel courts with glass walls to the Western Cape in 2021. 

The start of their Padel journey was a little slow, and unsurprisingly the two encountered difficulty with topics common to all succesful women: “It’s hard for women anywhere to be a leader or a business person because I don’t think you are often taken seriously, which is always a bit difficult and frustrating,” said King.

But once people saw the value of the sport, this changed their view about it. “It has been amazing to see it grow, for the first eight months before all the other courts started going up, people weren’t quite sure,” continued King. 

“It wasn’t difficult to get people to give it a go, but it’s not very cheap, so people were kind of apprehensive of how it all worked. As soon as word started spreading about what fun it is and how you can get fit doing it, there was interest,” said King.

When it comes to statistics, the numbers highlighting the popularity of the sport are mind-blowing – not just in South Africa, but all around the world. And, since its introduction to Mzansi in 2019, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of courts that have been popping up. 

According to the website padel.fyi, there’s an estimated 40,000 courts globally as of 2022, and this number is expected to grow by 25% by 2025. This is a sport that is also a very lucrative one as the court as well as equipment will set you back at the bank. 

Brainy Insights estimates that the market size was an eye-watering $327 million in 2022 (more than R6 Billion), and with the increase of players, it is forecasted to grow at 9.6% through 2027, with women making up 37.5% of recreational players. 

Spain has become the world leader in the sport, with 3.7 million players.

With the festive season upon us. Padel is a sport that will be getting families on the court to keep them busy during the holidays. King says they are in full on party mode as the year comes to a close. 

“We are still in the team-building phase and office parties, and that’s big for us. Everyone will have a ball of a time, no matter what level you are at. Kids parties and family get-togethers have started coming in and you can create a little tournament and have such a good time all together outdoors, getting your vitamin D and your exercise in.”

Photo caption: When it comes to a sport that has grown exponentially, Padel is right at the top of the list. Since it was first played in Val de Vie in Paarl, South Africa, it has seen an expansion second to none. The social aspect of the game is part of its popularity, as you it allows to socialise while getting some exercise. Photo: Action Padel on Instagram

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