Professional Squash Association (PSA) confirms 2023 as ‘Ground-Breaking Year’ for squash

January 03 2024

In 2023, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) witnessed a watershed moment, marking a historic stride for the sport. Squash earned its spot in the LA28 Olympic Games, a monumental achievement, while also securing a game-changing investment from Squash SM&E Holdings, led by sports mogul Mark Walter.

The amalgamation of Men's World Squash Tour and the Women's World Squash Tour under the PSA banner in 2015 paved the way for substantial growth in professional squash. A decade of diligent strides laid a robust foundation for the sport's elevation to a globally relevant sports entertainment product, leveraging its inherent attributes: unparalleled talent, athleticism of players, innovative portable glass showcourts, prestigious venues, a bustling global world tour calendar, an ardent fanbase and continuously improving media coverage.

The recognition of squash's progress and value by the LA28 Organising Committee, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and Mark Walter in 2023 stands as a testament to the sport's rising significance.

The inclusion of squash in the LA28 Olympic Games heralds a transformative phase, propelling the sport's visibility within the wider sporting community. It promises an expansive platform to showcase the sport and its exceptional athletes to a broader audience in the coming years.

Anticipated capital injection into the sport globally, specifically at the federation level, is expected, as stakeholders like the IOC and national bodies aim to provide optimal support for athletes preparing for the world's premier multi-sport event.

The pivotal moment of squash's inclusion in the LA28 Olympic Games follows another significant milestone earlier in the year: Squash SM&E Holdings, helmed by sports magnate Mark Walter, invested in Squash Media & Marketing (SMM). This investment not only signifies confidence in squash but also accelerates the sport's organisational growth.

Mark Walter's involvement, known for his influential roles in prominent sports franchises such as the LA Dodgers, LA Lakers, LA Sparks, and Chelsea Football Club, marks a substantial stride for professional squash.

The infusion of capital into SMM empowers the execution of an ambitious strategy devised in collaboration with Deloitte Sports Business Group. This strategy outlines six key investment areas and twelve defined tactics.

Revamping the structure of the PSA World Tour constitutes a crucial facet of these plans. A new tour framework is in development, aimed at fostering a more stable, extended calendar of PSA World Tour events for both genders. Emphasis will be on expanding PSA Challenger and PSA Satellite squash tournaments.

The renaming of the PSA World Tour aims to enhance recognition among general sports enthusiasts unaware of its current standing.

The PSA ambitiously aims to double total player compensation over the next five years, envisioning a jump from nearly $9,000,000 for the 2022-23 squash season to $18,000,000 by the 2027-28 squash season.

Expanding sanctioned events from 823 to 1,500 and gradually growing the player membership from 1,500 to 1,800 during this period are part of the PSA's targets.

Strategically utilising investment to take greater control over flagship events and enhance fan experiences is a priority. SMM, currently involved in seven events, seeks to expand to 15 to 20 tournaments within 18 months, focusing on enhancing their scale and entertainment quotient.

The PSA's concerted efforts also revolve around showcasing squash in new territories and iconic venues, leveraging successful events like the relocation of the British Open and the inaugural Paris Squash Open with the Eiffel Tower as a breathtaking backdrop in 2023.

Capital infusion will also bolster marketing efforts for the sport and its athletes, development of new digital products and services for global fans, and amplification of engaging content creation and distribution.

Reflecting on the journey of the last 15 years, characterised by incremental milestones – from elevating prize money under Ziad Al-Turki's stewardship to establishing SQUASHTV in 2010 and merging men's and women's tours in 2015 – the recent involvement of Mark Walter and Olympic inclusion mark unprecedented highs for professional squash.

Squash stands out among racket sports, demanding shared space, speed, athleticism, intensity and mental prowess. Leveraging these unique qualities, the sport seeks to captivate a significantly larger audience.

The current juncture represents an exhilarating phase for professional squash, promising an exciting journey leading up to the LA28 Olympic Games.