Promoters keen to embrace new world tour event option
The men’s world tour operators, PSA (Professional Squash Association), are introducing a new tournament tier with $100,000 in prize money. The PSA International 100 will come into effect immediately from September 2014, with promoters reportedly keen to upgrade existing tournaments to meet these requirements.
Sitting immediately below the coveted PSA World Series, PSA International 100 events will be the second most lucrative tournaments on the PSA World Tour, offering a total prize fund of $100,000, and are certain to attract some of the biggest names in world squash to contest their titles.
With the recent amalgamation of World Series Gold and World Series Platinum events to create a unified PSA World Series event standard, International 100 tournaments will bridge the gap between the elite circuit and the existing International standard tournaments, which are currently capped at International 70 level.
“Following the recent announcement regarding the restructuring of the PSA World Series we are pleased to be able to create this brand new tournament level which we feel will help to increase the competitiveness the PSA World Tour,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough (right).
“International 100 events, especially when staged as a 16-man draw, are certain to become some of the most lucrative on the tour and no doubt some of the most hotly contested titles around with further potential to create more movement at the top of the world rankings.”
Sponsorship is the key to the successful launch and development of major PSA titles, and despite a fairly stagnant global financial market, squash represents excellent value for corporate investment when compared with other, more expensive sports.
Squash also enjoys the benefit of offering sponsors an association with a healthy sport whose leading players, as well as being outstanding athletes, are intelligent, articulate and fulfil the role of sporting ambassadors with ever-increasing ability.
Gough added: “We have already begun to receive enquiries from promoters interested in staging International 100 tournaments and we look forward to continuing to strengthen the world tour in every possible facet.”
Staged as either a 16 or 32-man draws, up to 1750 ranking points will be on offer for winners, equivalent to finishing as runner-up in a World Series event, while up to $17,500 will be on offer for the trophy winner.
The forthcoming NetSuite Open in San Francisco is an outstanding tournament, managed by John Nimick’s Event Engine company, that is hotly tipped to be looking at a serious upgrade next year, having cemented itself into the calendar with some style.
The China Open, which has just seen the successful addition of a men’s event to an already-established WSA tournament, is another is another promoter’s dream that seems destined to deserve elevation from a $70k level to a much higher status on the PSA Tour.
Men’s champion James Willstrop, fittingly the PSA president, hinted at greater things to come. He was delighted not only with his first PSA victory since the 2013 Canary Wharf final, but he was also struck by the quality of the location and event presentation.
Writing in his column in the Yorkshire Evening Post, he said: “The women have had big events there before but this was new territory for the boys; as soon as I saw it on to the calendar I was keen to play it. China isn’t a big mover in squash, and so everyone is thrilled to see more extensive activity in Shanghai. Hopefully this can give the game a boost.
“If the setting was anything to go by then future inspiration shouldn’t be hard to summon. Franco Amadei was in charge of the event. His vision, which first came to him a year or so ago, was to place the spectacular glass court on the 11th floor of the Peninsula Hotel, overlooking the vibrant Bund in the city.
“This staggering hotel was our home for the week and honestly all the players couldn’t believe their luck.
“The Peninsula is gorgeous, and the hotel’s sponsorship of this event has been greatly appreciated.
“The backdrop around the court was as good as it gets in squash; the view over Shanghai quite something and it stands in the same bracket as the great iconic venues the world over.
“A superb event in Shanghai, and here’s to one or two more…”
Pictures from Squash Mad archive