Eric Loftus was there as a businessman through the past decade as tennis grew in the Northeast, and in New England, in particular. He’s been building pickleball courts throughout the region and has seen that sport rise almost as fast as slam of a whiffle ball. Now, he is hoping to be there for the boom that will be the new sport invading our shores from Europe: Padel. He believes the sun is only just rising over the future growth of padel.
With his high school mate, Loftus built an empire through tennis court construction. Working with country and tennis clubs and private residences, Loftus has crisscrossed New England and the northeast in search of new spaces for tennis, and running tracks, provided for the other segment of his clientele: educational institutions and public facilities. He knows the market for courts and tracks, from the clay courts of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, to the tracks and concrete of Providence and Springfield.
Padel Is Far Different From Pickleball
But now, he’s looking at Padel. Loftus believes that, long term, padel rather than pickleball may be the sport to usurp the grip that tennis has on its racquet competitors. He even sees a possibility of padel joining forces with tennis, say, at the US Open in Flushing Meadows. What’s interesting about his view is that, unlike how many regard pickleball, he doesn’t view padel as an opponent trying to take replace tennis courts and kill off his main business of building tennis courts. He sees padel as an addition.
Country clubs are going in circles, says Loftus. He calls it the “wild wild west” is the current state of play with padel court construction. Clubs are watching what investors are doing with the sport and promotion. While private equity team up with racquet sport enthusiasts to join forces and investigate various ways to house and build padel courts, Loftus is left holding the figurative shovel until the nod is given. Once he receives the “ok” he can import the structures from Spain and start to add to the 350 courts already here in the States.
Finally, it might be time to invest in those old red-brick mercantile and textile factory buildings in New England from New Bedford to New London and inland along the rivers like the Housatonic and the Connecticut. Loftus is always looking up, as he has to find ceilings over 24 feet. Come and have a listen and maybe you’ll be raising the roof!