Taktika Padel, U of Pacific to Build Padel & Pball College Campus Facility
September 16, 2023
The Western USA’s leading padel operator, Taktika Padel, in partnership with University of the Pacific, is building the first ever padel and pickleball complex on an American college campus.
Construction has started on the Stockton campus to create a 12-court complex – eight courts for the fast-growing sport of pickleball and four for what is widely considered the world’s fastest growing sport, padel.
Located just north of University of the Pacific’s Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center, the venue, equipped with lights and video cameras for live streaming, is expected to be completed in early fall.
Pickleball is the fastest growing sports in the U.S., nearly doubling in a year from 4.8 million players in 2021 to 8.9 million last year and expanding from an activity popular among seniors to growing among younger adults, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Padel, which until now has remained little known in the U.S. with more than 200 courts, has been mirroring pickleball’s success internationally. The sport, which started in Mexico in the late 1960s and grew in popularity in Spain in the 1980s, is now the number two most played sport in Spain after soccer and is exploding across Europe, the Middle East and other regions worldwide. It is estimated that padel is now played by approximately 30m players globally in more than 90 countries, with Olympic ambitions on the horizon perhaps as soon as Brisbane 2032. The sport is estimated to reach 10m players in the U.S. by 2030.
Ryan Redondo, CEO of Taktika Padel, said the Pacific partnership is central to the company’s plan to open 200 publicly accessible padel courts on the West Coast within the next two years. The Pacific venue would be only the fourth public padel courts in California and the first in Northern California. Taktika opened its first padel center, inside the award-winning Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, in 2021 and earlier this summer opened its second padel location at the home of MLS team, LA Galaxy at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles.
“Since Taktika’s inception, we have said that our driving motivation is to bring padel to as many different communities as possible, so that everyone has the opportunity to experience this exhilarating sport for themselves. Central to our vision has been to develop padel among young people and introduce the sport into the college system in the U.S. This unique Pacific partnership provides us the springboard to do just that, and to embrace the popularity pickleball has already had in the United States with the popularity padel has had overseas. Our partnership with the University of the Pacific is an American first, and I’m confident will pave the way for other college campuses to embrace these two insurgent racket sports as they gain popularity across our country.”
Gabriel Perez Krieb, Chairman and Co-Founder of Taktika Padel, said while pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., padel is the fast-growing globally, with an estimated 30 million players worldwide.
Deloitte, the global consulting firm, said in its 2023 Global Padel Report that there are already nearly 40,000 padel courts internationally – more than double since 2019 – and Deloitte projects that to more than double again to 85,000 in the next three years.
Krieb said the U.S. is expected to have 30,000 courts by 2029 and may be an Olympic sport by 2032.
“Our driving force at Taktika Padel is the opportunity to grow and develop this support up the Pacific Coast and across the Western U.S. for communities that will be, on the whole, be witnessing padel for the first time. We are delighted by the vision and ambition of Pacific to see the potential power of these two sports combined on one campus, and hope it will prove a model to be rolled out in other Universities in the years ahead,” he said.
“Furthermore, under this unique partnership, we will be installing the award-winning Wilson Elite court at a Taktika location for the first time, following on from our recently-announced exclusive partnership agreement with the world’s leading padel court manufacturer, Padel Galis. This means students at Pacific will have the opportunity to play on best-in-class courts as they take to the sport of padel, many for the very first time,” he added.
The majority of Taktika Padel’s ownership group has also invested in the San Diego Stingrays, one of the original seven franchises of the newly formed Pro Padel League (PPL), which had its debut season in Tampa, Florida this summer.
Padel is often described as a hybrid of tennis, pickleball and squash. The court is about one-third the size of a tennis court with a 3-foot-high net and fully enclosed by 16-foot high glass walls. The scoring is the same as used in tennis, yet the sport, like pickleball, is considered inclusive and accessible given the speed with which players can reach a reasonable standard.
Pacific women’s tennis head coach Mike Erwin brought the idea of a partnership with Taktika Padel to President Christopher Callahan, and an agreement was quickly reached, working closely with Redondo, who served as Pacific’s Director of Tennis and Head Coach for men’s tennis from 2010 to 2019.
Under the unique partnership, Taktika Padel will construct, operate and maintain the new complex, which is being built on a plot of unused university land adjacent to the Zimmerman Tennis Center and a practice soccer field on the western edge of the 175-acre campus.
Pacific students, faculty and staff will have free access to the new complex daily from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight and will be able to reserve courts during the day at a discounted price. The university will receive a portion of Taktika Padel’s gross revenue from the complex.
“This unique and powerful partnership will serve the Pacific community by providing two exciting new sports for our students to play while filling a great need in the Central Valley for more pickleball courts and getting people excited about padel,” the university president said.
Callahan added that the revenue share from the Taktika Padel partnership will help support and grow Pacific’s men’s and women’s tennis programs, which compete in the West Coast Conference. The 12-court Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center, built in 2017 with a generous gift from Regent Eve Zimmerman ‘84, a former Pacific and pro tennis player, already is considered the best tennis venue in the conference.
“The addition of the padel and pickleball complex is a game-changer for our tennis programs,” Erwin said. “Having access to these fun, exciting and easy to learn sports on campus also will have a tremendous impact on Pacific as a whole. Increases in fundraising, student and community engagement and attendance at home contests are all expected outcomes of creating this racket sports eco-system.”
“Being able to work with President Callahan to make this concept a reality has been a valuable opportunity,” the coach said. “I believe, together with our partners at Taktika, we’ve blazed a trail that other institutions will follow.”
Pickleball and padel tournaments will be featured October 14th at Pacific’s Homecoming and Family Weekend. The university also has plans to start a pickleball club team and intramurals with both sports.