Home Estate Planning Redwood Bank founder Jonathan Rowland aiming to corner padel market with R3 Sport

Redwood Bank founder Jonathan Rowland aiming to corner padel market with R3 Sport

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Serial entrepreneur Jonathan Rowland has announced his latest venture, R3 Sport, which is focused on the fast-growing game of padel.

Rowland, the founder of Redwood Bank, says R3 will manage top British professional players, host elite tournaments featuring international stars, build venues and act as a distributor for leading brands.

The son of property tycoon and prominent Conservative Party donor David Rowland, he has raised capital from private investors and secured credit facilities worth several million pounds as he looks to corner the UK padel market.

“This year is the biggest year the sport has had, with the merger of two tournaments at the top level and Red Bull joining as a major sponsor,” Rowland told City A.M.

“Our plan is to create a business around the Great Britain team with the best brands, the best players, the best venues and the best tournaments

“We have the most comprehensive package of all companies out there that I know of. We’re only focusing on the UK for now – the opportunity is here, a lot of famous people playing, a lot of clubs being built, so it’s exciting times.

“I’ve played for 20 years. I got into it by a friend of mine who had a court in his house in Argentina. I had no idea what I was being asked to play but I became a fanatical fan. It’s great fun, very social and there’s lots of interesting people playing it now.”

Leading player Nikhil Mohindra is a co-founder of R3 and his GB team-mate Sam Jones is also among the early investors. Both will be managed by the company, which has also signed Chris Salisbury, brother of tennis Grand Slam winner Joe Salisbury, and British No1 Catherine Rose.

Rowland is planning a Padel Super League featuring top pros from home and abroad playing for franchises, which it is envisaged will be bought by famous fans of the sport. It will be modelled on the recent Hexagon Cup and US-based Pro Padel League

“We are setting up something called the Padel Super League, which will be a champions league of padel in the UK – the highest prize money, the most prestigious event at a purpose-built place, which may be the Olympic village or somewhere that’s not been done yet,” Rowland said. 

“The main event will be a serious tournament where high-ranked players will be invited to play for various franchise teams. We’ll be selling franchises. To begin with there will be 6-8 franchises owned by some of the clubs, some celebrities and famous business people.”

R3 has begun work on the construction of two clubs, one in east London close to the border with Essex and another near Richmond in west London. It is designed to serve the 90,000 padel players in the UK, which is predicted to reach 600,000 by 2026.

“There’s a buzz around it,” Rowland said. “There’s certainly not enough courts in the UK for the demand. There are 350 courts in the UK and we’ve probably got demand for 1,500-2,000, so there’s plenty of room.” 

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