Qatar Sports Investments, the owner of top French football team Paris Saint-Germain, has acquired the World Padel Tour, marking another sport increasingly dominated by a Middle Eastern investor.
(Bloomberg) — Qatar Sports Investments, the owner of top French football team Paris Saint-Germain, has acquired the World Padel Tour, marking another sport increasingly dominated by a Middle Eastern investor.
The agreement will consolidate the sport’s two biggest professional tours — The World Padel Tour and QSI-backed Premier Padel — into a single global one under the name Premier Padel. Set to launch in 2024, the new competition will be governed by the International Padel Federation, QSI said Thursday
The sale is expected to be in the region of tens of millions of dollars, according to one person familiar with the deal.
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The purchase follows a months-long power struggle for control over the fast-growing racket sport between QSI and Spain’s Damm SA, owner of the Estrella Damm beer and Setpoint Events, which organizes the World Padel Tour.
Padel, a hybrid between tennis and squash, has long been popular in Spain and Argentina but is quickly gathering fans around the world. The sport now counts 25 million players in over 90 countries. A padel club was even opened in mid-town Manhattan earlier this year, a testament to the sport’s increasing popularity in the US.
“This is a historic moment for the sport of padel,” Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, chairman of Qatar Sports Investments and a keen padel player, said in a statement.
Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds have recently been pouring into professional sports across the world. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund owns English football team Newcastle United FC and LIV Golf, which it is attempting to merge with the dominant PGA Tour.
Major League Soccer is also considering allowing sovereign wealth funds to invest in its teams, Bloomberg reported in July.
The separate World Padel Tour and Premier Padel tours will be played as planned in 2023, while the unification of competitions gets underway in preparation for next year.
–With assistance from David Hellier.
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