50 years of Daplast, a global leader in seating for sports facilities
Our company, Daplast, is globally recognized as a manufacturer of seating for sports facilities. In fact, we are celebrating our fiftieth anniversary in the industry, to which we have always contributed with hard work, innovation, and commitment.
This milestone is a good moment to look back and remember our entire journey. Will you join us on this trip?
Rafael, a visionary founder
In 1973, Rafael Pérez Esparza decided to start his own business: Distribuidora Andaluza de Plásticos (Andalusian Plastic Distributor), from which our current name derives.
This energetic man had started a sales job in the 60s at another plastics company established in Madrid. He quickly rose to become the director of a subsidiary in Andújar, but he always kept his dream of starting his own company in mind.
His initial focus was on the agri-food industry, where he pioneered the creation of plastic crates as a replacement for the traditional wooden ones. His entrepreneurial vision allowed him to recognize the business opportunity in this new market and take advantage of it.
For this purpose, he acquired his first injection moulding machines to produce these plastic crates.
However, how can a company that initially produces plastic crates for fruits and vegetables evolve into a manufacturer of seating for sports facilities?
Mr. Rafael had a visionary sixth sense and was ahead of his time. When he realized that producing plastic crates for agriculture, irrigation tubes, and greenhouse plastics alone was not enough, he actively looked new alternatives.
The business context in the late seventies was complex: the oil crisis, high plastic prices, etc. It was the moment for diversifying products and markets within the sector. Rafael visited several international plastics trade fairs in search of ideas and came to a conclusion: there was an emerging demand and great potential in the design and manufacture of seating for sports facilities.
Our move to start developing seating for sports facilities
Therefore, he became fully involved in the management of turnkey projects, including the design, manufacturing, and installation of seating for sports facilities, in order to meet the increasing demand for bleachers and seating that would meet the new requirements of safety and comfort.
In 1978, we acquired the property where our company headquarters are now located, and we started investing in the first moulds for seats. Once again, we became pioneers thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of our founder.
At the start of the eighties, we started designing seating for stadiums and dismountable bleachers. There were setbacks, but through determination and good decisions, we were able to overcome difficulties and grow in response.
As Rafael explained in an interview with Diario de Córdoba in December 1985, we chose the most challenging path: researching and developing new products. Ultimately, we came to see that this was the perfect decision. We were constantly at the vanguard of the sector, offering advanced solutions, always with innovative features.
Soon the first contracts were signed with companies and facilities for the project management of stadium seating. These were some of the first facilities equipped with our seating:
- Arcángel Stadium, Córdoba, Spain.
- CLESA-Ferrol Pavillion, Spain
- Cancha del Joventut de Badalona, Spain.
- Marbella Stadium, Spain.
The turning point for our company
The period between the late 80s and early 90s marked a significant commercial breakthrough. It began with the awarding of the contract for the Jerez racing Circuit, which included the manufacture and installation of metallic bleachers with a seating capacity of over 50,000.
Next, we installed seats in most of the first and second division football stadiums in Spain. Our goal was not only to provide the designated seating units, stadium seating or bleachers. We offered an integrated service that included determining optimal seating distribution, evacuation zones, transit areas, and staircase placement.
Ultimately, we designed the best technical solution to achieve two objectives:
- Maximum visibility and comfort for spectators.
- Aesthetic design.
We continue to apply this business concept today.
Gradually, thanks to our entrepreneurial mindset, we felt the need to take on new markets. In this case, global ones. Due to the prevailing economic situation, this was a significant challenge for any Spanish company in the late 90s.
We attended trade shows and international conferences to enhance our brand visibility. Once again, we demonstrated our innovative spirit, both through the export agreements we established and the technological advancements we embraced. Did you know that we were one of the first companies in our sector to have our own website?
In 2002, we won two exceptional contracts: the sports facilities for the Central American Games, and stadiums in the United Arab Emirates.
The 2000-2010 decade was incredibly bright and exciting for us. We were chosen by top football clubs like Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona to equip their stadiums, and later on, the Circuit de Catalunya followed suit. Since then, Daplast has become a globally recognized brand.
From that moment on, we experienced significant growth both nationally and internationally. The succession of major contracts we signed was exceptional. Among many others, we supplied seating for the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, the 5 de Julio Stadium in Algeria, the Parc des Princes in Paris, and the Comet Arena in the same country. In Spain, entities such as Celta de Vigo, Mallorca, Villarreal, and Osasuna placed their trust in us.
A dream come true for Rafael Pérez Esparza
Currently, Daplast’s seats and bleachers are present in over forty countries across all five continents. As market leaders, we have earned a strong reputation and brand image. Nevertheless, we remain true to our roots in Córdoba, our birthplace.
We maintain the highest quality standards for each project, manufacture locally and bring with us both experience and creativity. We continue to respect the values that have made us who we are:
- Passion in everything we do.
Our aim is clear: to bring life to our clients’ projects, creating comfortable, safe, attractive and sustainable seating. Our final objective? Experience sports and entertainment in optimal conditions.
For the last 50 years, we have been dedicated to seating for sports facilities and have overcome many challenges with our sights set firmly on the future. And we will continue, proud of who we are and the company founded by Rafael half a century ago. Our next goal? Our centenary.