Did you know Northwest Arkansas is home to a new professional sports franchise?
The Pro Padel League (PPL), North America’s first professional padel league, sold the Northwest Arkansas franchise rights to Shannon Hudson, her husband Johan den Toom, and her mother, Barbara Hudson.
They own Matrix Racquet Club in Lowell, an 11-acre complex at 1219 Mills Lane, west of Interstate 49. It has indoor and outdoor courts for tennis, pickleball courts and the first padel courts in Arkansas. Padel, a fast-paced racquet game and one of the country’s fastest-growing sports, is played in doubles on a smaller tennis court surrounded by glass walls, combining elements of tennis, squash and badminton.
“Barbara, Shannon and Johan are close friends of mine, and we have been working together to promote padel for many years. Their Matrix club is one of North America’s top padel and racquet facilities,” said PPL Commissioner Marcos del Pilar. “I am so excited to have them as the owners of the first PPL team in the Midwest region of the U.S.”
PPL has also sold franchises in Cancun, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego and Toronto. A spokeswoman said each team costs six figures but did not disclose the franchise fee.
“As a business owner, I am proud to be a part of the ground-breaking movement of professional padel in North America,” Shannon Hudson said. “Acquiring one of the first teams in the Pro Padel League is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be at the forefront of this exciting sport and help shape its future.”
PPL’s inaugural season will kick off this spring and conclude with the PPL Cup Championship in June. During the first season, each team will consist of two male and two female players and follow the international scoring format.
The PPL will conduct its first player draft on March 20.