The Pro Padel League (PPL) is set to start this May. Seven teams make up the new league, each with male and female players.
Unlike most tennis and padel competitions, teams will compete as a team instead of in the standard form of doubles.
In this article, we'll outline everything you need to know about the Pro Padel League, including the draft results, full schedule, and teams' details.
Padel is often compared to tennis and squash, but it has its unique characteristics. It is a racket sport played on an enclosed court about one-third the size of a tennis court.
The game is usually played in doubles and the ball can be boasted against the walls as in squash. Points are scored when the opposing team fails to return the ball within the designated playing area. Scoring is the same as tennis with minor modifications.
Padel has gained a large following in Europe and South America, and it is rapidly growing in North America.
The Need for a New Padel League
The PPL is the first North American padel league. The league has borrowed elements from other sports to generate as much buzz about the sport as possible.
While the World Padel Tour did visit Miami to start the 2022 season, the padel boom of the past few years has largely missed North America. To date, there are still very few padel courts in North America, and professional padel tournaments largely skip the continent.
Padel has over 25 million players worldwide and is growing in popularity in the U.S. with the number of Padel courts set to double this year. Over 8 million players are projected to be playing in the U.S. by 2030. - Marcos del Pilar, Commissioner of the PPL
The organizers of the PPL seek to rectify this by organizing professional padel tournaments in North America and exposing Americans to the drama and excitement of the sport.
The goal of the league is to build the American fan base and to promote the growth of Padel across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
The Format of the New Padel League
The league consists of seven teams across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico with eight players each, at least six of whom must be from North America. They hope this will further boost and promote the growth of padel in the PPL’s home continent. Each eight-player team is composed of 4 primary players, two male, and two female, and four alternate players.
The PPL has adopted a franchise-based model like many major sports leagues in the USA. PPL Commissioner, and president of the United States Padel Association (USPA), Marcos Del Pilar described the PPL as "the perfect approach for padel under the American business model.”
The seven teams will compete for a place in the top four. The top four teams will then compete for first place at the PPL Cup. This contrasts with the standard doubles form of most tennis and padel competitions.
The Teams and their Sports Star Leadership
The PPL management has coordinated the purchase of seven franchises:
- Los Angeles Beat
- Miami Padel Club
- San Diego Stingrays
- Toronto Polar Bears
- Arkansas Matrix
- Las Vegas Smash
PPL management has successfully created a splash in the sports field by attracting some impressive sports stars to the ownership and advisory team. For example, former Toronto Football Club mid-fielder, Sebastian Giovinco, having seen the rocketing growth of padel in his home of Italy, is a co-owner of the Toronto Polar Bears.
Similarly, German former #2 ATP World Tour player, Tommy Haas is a co-owner of the San Diego Stingrays. Meanwhile, the Miami Padel Club team has appointed Argentine tennis legend Juan Martin del Potro as a strategic advisor.
The teams are composed of some of the top players in the world, including Spanish Marta Marrero, who currently ranks 14 in the World Padel Tour.
Venues and Schedule
For the inaugural 2023 season, matches will be played in Tampa, Florida, but from 2024, matches will be played at home stadiums across the continent.
The season’s matches will be played on the weekends from May 13 to June 3, 2023. The top four teams will compete to be the champion of the first season of the PPL at the PPL Cup on the weekend of June 10-11, 2023.
Tickets and How to Attend
All matches will be played in Tampa and will be open to the public. Ticket information will be posted at propadelleague.com shortly.
How to watch
The PPL team has secured agreements to show the league’s highlights on TV as tape-delayed broadcasts and highlights reels to over 75 million in the US.
PPL management is working on securing live streaming for the game days. More details on how to watch will be posted at propadelleague.com shortly.
Future of the New Padel League
With constructed padel courts doubling in the USA, we think that the PPL’s timing is perfect to accelerate the spread of the padel boom to North America. Time will tell whether the expected growth will come to fruition, but if the current growth trajectory continues, this time we’ll see more padel on TV and less pickleball.
The Draft Results
The Pro Padel League received approximately 500 entries from players in 57 countries. Here are the draft results for each team:
- Sergio Icardo Alconsa from Spain
- Javier Lopez Garcia from Dubai
- Alfredo Desiati from USA
- Sebastian Castaneda from USA
- Tia Norton from UK
- Aranzazu Gallardo from Mexico
- Mariana Talarico from USA
- Jen Buckley from USA
- Jose Grizpe from USA
- Simon Charaf Jones from Mexico
- Mateo Coles from USA
- Luis Fernando Ramirez Aristeguiela from USA
- Paloma Cortina from USA
- Brittney Dubins from USA
- Maria Fernanda Espinosa from Mexico
- Marta Marrero from Spain
- Manual Jose Fernandez Dias from Spain
- Francisco Riveroll from USA
- Joao Graca from USA
- Gabriel Arraiz from USA
- Rosalie Vanderhoek from Netherlands
- Carla Romagosa from USA
- Ana Belem Fernandez from Mexico
- Patricia Garcia Caldedero from Spain
- Nicolas Xiviller from USA
- Mariano Cabrera from USA
- Fausto Baraldi from USA
- Niko Kedzo from USA
- Andrea Samson from USA
- Daniela Ruiz Alvarez from USA
- Lucy Marshall from USA
- Maria Magraner from USA
- Jacobo Blanco De Miguel from USA
- William Agritelly from USA
- Raleigh Smith from USA
- Elliot Carnello from USA
- Riva Mackie from USA
- Nancy Dingwall from USA
- Marta Morge Alonso from USA
- Veronica Liz Costabel from USA
- Nico Agritelley from USA
- Pedro Alonso Martinez from USA
- Carlos Luna from Ecuador
- Tom Trinh from USA
- Egle Petrauskaite from USA
- Astrid Gehre from USA
- Irene Cavero Dominguez from Spain
- Belen Salcedo from USA
- Luis Estrada from USA
- Alejandro Alcaraz Gonzalez from Mexico
- Nicolas Palmeque from USA
- Nicolas Clerc from USA
- Jordana Lujan from USA
- Maria Paulina Gamboa Yenez from Mexico
- Clementina Riobuena from USA
- Erin Roberts from Canada
The Pro Padel League (PPL) is a new tournament circuit begun in 2023 formed of 7 teams across North America where men's, women's, and mixed matches are played and summed to determine the winner. The PPL's mission is to accelerate the growth of padel in the USA.
There are very few courts in North America, which means that many Americans who want to play are unable to reach a court. Investment in padel has accelerated since COVID, and now many courts are opening up to eager audiences. Time will tell whether padel or pickleball will be more popular in North America.