Prize money total soars 11% to $6.4m
By SEAN REUTHE
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) today announced that a record level of prize money was available on the PSA World Tour during the 2017-18 season, with total financial compensation reaching $6.4 million, an 11% increase on the previous season.
The pay gap between female and male players dropped by almost a third last season, with total prize money on the women’s tour totalling $2,599,000 million – a 31% increase compared to 2016-17 – while the men’s has increased to $3,820,000.
This trend is reflected in both the men’s and women’s top earners. The top earning female player on the PSA World Tour earned $218,814 last season – a 93% increase since the PSA and Women’s Squash Association (WSA) merged in 2015 to create a unified governing body.
The top earning male player earned $278,231 last season, which has increased 72% over the past three seasons. There have also been vast prize money increases for the world’s top 25 ranked players across both the men’s and women’s tours during this period, with average earnings rising by 37% in the men’s and 63% in the women’s.
The prize money was split across 227 events (146 men and 81 women) in a total of 47 countries, while tournaments were staged in eight new countries during the 2017-18 season: Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Kuwait, Nigeria, Romania and Saudi Arabia.
“Squash has been through a period of unprecedented growth over the past decade and we are delighted that we can back that up with these record figures,” said PSA Chief Commercial Officer Tommy Berden.
“One of the key goals of the merger between PSA and WSA was to strive for equality in both prize money and playing opportunities and, since we took control of the administration of both men’s and women’s squash three years ago, we have made significant strides in both of these areas.
“We believe that professional squash has never been in better shape and, with the 2018-19 PSA World Championships in Chicago set to become the sport’s first one million dollar tournament in February 2019, we are confident that the sport will continue to grow during the upcoming season.”
Article by SEAN REUTHE (PSA Media and PR Manager). Edited by ALAN THATCHER
Picture courtesy of PSA
Re “gender pay gap” and “striving for equality in prize money” in squash, would it be too much to expect some consideration of the nuances? Professional sports people are selling entertainment. The best measure of how entertaining the men’s and women’s game are, is their respective “sales”, whether that’s the number of ticket purchases, online viewers, sponsorship generated, or whatever.
If the women’s game generates more income than the men’s game, then that should be reflected in them being paid more than the men. If not, vice versa.
If I decide to become a professional singer, and less people want to pay to listen to me compared to the average female pop star, that’s not a “gender pay gap” per se, it’s just a reflection of what people (consumers) want to spend their money on and listen to
Our sponsor this year was willing to up their investment to $15k instead of $10k and we had to make a choice. We chose an M10 and W5, our first women’s PSA.
In terms of value for sponsorship, the addition of the ladies tournament brought us a full length interview with the ladies top seed nationally on the Scots news as opposed to the regional slot we got before, so we added around 2 million to our existing 1 million engagement figure. In terms of value for sponsorship, that blew everything right out of the water before the tournament had even started.
We then decided to organise the tournament across 2 courts. Show court and back court. Matches would alternate so we’d get a men’s match and a ladies match alternating on the show court, and likewise on the back court. Unfortunately the back court had limited viewing and was only streamed via Facebook as opposed to the higher quality platform we used on the show court.
The lack of viewing space on the back court led to vociferous complaints from a number of club members who felt that only the men’s matches should be on the show court. For context, ticketing for the entire event was completely free of charge. Its an attitude I think especially lower tier promoters are destined inevitably to face.
Objectively our tournament, given the relatively limited investment it had, was a roaring success. Drama and amazing matches in both draws, plenty of entertainment, and in terms of value for sponsorship we trebled our outreach to over 3 million in a single stroke.