New York anniversary at Grand Central Terminal
By NATHAN CLARKE
The iconic J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (ToC), one of the most prestigious competitions on the PSA World Tour, will celebrate 20 years of association with New York’s stunning Grand Central Terminal this season when the PSA World Series tournament returns to the NYC landmark from January 12-19, 2017.
One of the first events ever to be staged inside Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall when the venue was made available for public use in 1995, the Tournament of Champions has since become synonymous as one of the most picturesque and spectator-friendly squash tournaments in the world. The championship, absent from Grand Central Terminal during its renovation from 1996-1998, returned to Vanderbilt Hall in 1999 and is the only sports championship presented annually inside Grand Central Terminal.
“We are so excited to be celebrating our 20th anniversary of presenting all of the world’s best squash players in the extraordinary setting of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall,” said John Nimick, President of Squash Engine, Inc., the tournament promoter.
“The grandeur and vitality of Grand Central Terminal as a venue for competition among the top-ranking players has created an unparalleled spectator experience for our onsite sell-out crowds, as well as fans worldwide who follow the action on live web-streaming (SQUASHTV) or broadcast TV.”
Then World No.1 Jansher Khan of Pakistan defeated Rodney Eyles of Australia to win the inaugural tournament in 1995 and, as befits its moniker, all but two of the titleholders since then have been ranked World No.1.
The four-walled glass court, to be constructed in the five days prior to first round play, will showcase the competitive intensity and phenomenal athleticism of 128 of the world’s top squash players including the likes of Men’s World No.1 and defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy and Women’s World No.1 and defending champion Nour El Sherbini.
Fans will be able to catch the action in Grand Central from the ticketed seats in the stadium, free standing room at the front wall or on closed circuit TV screens on the west side of Vanderbilt Hall.
In 2016, the ToC generated 704 hours of global coverage, attracting 2.2 million viewers and realising more than $40 million in media value for its sponsors and partners.
“In the ToC’s two decades in Grand Central Terminal, the championship has become the players’ favourite place to play, a must-see event for fans locally and globally and has become increasingly valuable as a major international sports property,” said Nimick (right).
“In 2017, the addition of the Great Northern Food Hall in Vanderbilt Hall will add another level of hospitality for our onsite fans. We are looking forward to continuing our tradition of combining one of the world’s great sports properties with one of NYC’s great community events.”
The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is one of eight World Series tournaments sanctioned by the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and one of only three to offer equal prize money and draw size for both men and women. It is the only PSA World Series event to have been staged in the same venue for two decades.
J.P. Morgan, a global financial services company, is returning for its ninth year of Platinum title sponsorship. Gold Sponsor Lexington Partners, the world’s largest independent manager of secondary private equity and co-investment funds, marks its 19th year of ToC sponsorship.
Tickets range in price from $8 to $170 and will be available for purchase beginning October 7, 2016 at www.tocsquash.com.
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of ToC and PSA