The founders of PLAYERS team up with Vendis Capital

The founders of PLAYERS team up with Vendis Capital

Vendis Capital takes a majority stake in PLAYERS, a leading sports entertainment company, alongside its founders, Tony Jalinier, Guillaume Debelmas, and Joseph Viéville, as well as the management team, who are significantly reinvesting in the transaction.

Born from the merger of Soccer Park and LE FIVE in 2016, PLAYERS has established itself as a major group in indoor sport entertainment in France. In its 35 venues across the country (23 owned and 12 franchised), PLAYERS offers accessible, fun, and inclusive sports activities with an emphasis on  conviviality. Starting as a historical player in five-a-side football, a simplified form of soccer with two teams of five players on a reduced field, under the LE FIVE brand, the group has also been a pioneer in the padel market since 2014. With the 4PADEL brand launched in 2018, PLAYERS has built a leadership position in indoor padel in France and directly contributes to the growth of this racket sport played 2 versus 2.

PLAYERS provides its customers with 144 five-a-side football fields and 128 padel courts in its modern and well-equipped centers, designed as sports venues with bars and specialized shops. The group offers its customers a premium experience thanks to the location and accessibility of its centers, the quality of its facilities, and the range of innovative services and digital tools available for players to enjoy a unique and recreational experience. Regular events organization (including tournaments and leagues of various levels) allows to entertain and bring together a community of players who appreciate the fun of practicing sports and sharing moments together with friends (on the field or after the match), as well as the value-added services and the digitalization of the experience (replays, online rankings and statistics, automated match sheets, etc.). PLAYERS also caters to businesses by organizing sports events (seminars, team building, olympiads) and has developed academies such as the ZIDANE FIVE CLUB, in partnership with Zinédine Zidane for five-a-side football, and the 4PADEL Academy by Babolat for padel, which promote the development of the sports.

As a mission-driven company, PLAYERS is committed to sports practice development and democratization. The group partners with numerous local authorities and associations to make sports accessible to as many people as possible, notably by signing 400 annual agreements with them and offering over 15,000 hours of playtime free of charge or at a discounted rate to associations and schools.

Following a competitive auction process, the founders of PLAYERS decided to partner with Vendis Capital: “We were primarily looking for the right partner to support us in our ambitious development; we were convinced by Vendis’ entrepreneurial approach and quickly envisioned a shared journey with them. Thanks to the work of our team, we have already achieved great things; there is still much to do, and we rely upon Vendis to support us in the next stage of our development. With 9 new centers already signed, we have strong ambitions.”

This operation marks the exit of Kostogri, who has supported the growth of the Group since 2021.

Mathieu de Medeiros, Partner at Vendis Capital, is delighted with this new partnership: “We are very pleased to join forces with Guillaume, Joseph, Tony, and their team to support them in the new chapter of growth for PLAYERS. We are convinced that the sports entertainment market is future-proof, underpinned by powerful and lasting societal trends, and that, thanks to the quality of the work done by the team so far, PLAYERS is ideally positioned to grow and consolidate its leadership position.”

Vendis Capital’s majority stake in PLAYERS is the second investment of Vendis Capital IV.

 

About PLAYERS (www.lateamPLAYERS.com)

Established in 2008, PLAYERS is a specialist in sports entertainment, operating 35 indoor venues in France dedicated to five-a-side football and padel. In addition to providing playing fields, the group offers a wide range of services both for individuals and professionals. PLAYERS encompasses the brands LE FIVE, 4PADEL, ZIDANE FIVE CLUB, and PLAYERS Events.

 

About Vendis Capital (www.vendiscapital.com)

Founded in 2009, Vendis Capital is an independent private equity firm specializing in the consumer goods sector in Europe. In partnership with experienced entrepreneurs and managers, Vendis aims to invest in small to medium sized consumer companies to help them realize their potential for growth and value creation. Vendis invests in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and in the Scandinavian countries.

 

For more information

Mathieu de Medeiros (Partner) – Tel. +33 6 73 66 00 02 – mdm@vendiscapital.com

Aurélie Cayet (Investment Director) – Tel. +33 6 02 07 64 15 – ac@vendiscapital.com

Olivier Le Bris (Investment Manager) – Tel. +33 6 17 16 24 59 – olb@vendiscapital.com

Shirley Ribeiro (media relations PLAYERS – Agence ZR Communication) – Tel. +33 7 87 24 04 00 – shirley@zrcommunication.com