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Tournament of Champions

This week in New York the world’s top male and female players are competing in the Tournament of Champions in the Iconic venue of Grand Central Station.

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One of the longest running and consistently successful tournaments on the men’s PSA tour, this event has only missed two years in the venue since 1995. It has also had the benefit of long standing sponsorship from JP Morgan and Lexington Partners for a number of years. The promoter, John Nimmick must be doing something right because anyone who has been to this event usually puts it at the top or close to the top for squash venues and tournaments around the world. The building itself, a large crowd of very enthusiastic and appreciative New Yorkers, corporate boxes usually full, a front wall free for the innocent passer-by all make for an amazing atmosphere. It is easy to see why the sponsors like it and want to support it year after year because it showcases a fantastic sport in one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

This one is special though. It isn’t always that easy. The majority of venues on the world tours will be at clubs, some of which may be in less exciting locations and efforts to entice sponsors are even more difficult. In the challenging economic times of the past few years and probably a few more, the tours and promoters must find a way to showcase and sell the sport. The 2020 Olympic Bid most certainly raised the profile of the sport so now the sport must push on so that the sponsors come to them. They should want to be part of a spectacle with television, high profile athletes and all the rest. You only need to look at the other big sporting event on this week in Melbourne and see that even in these tough financial times, if the product is good enough, the sponsors will continue to knock on the door. Prize money for the tennis grand slams continues to rise and those top tennis players will be slightly better rewarded for their troubles than the squash pros will be.

One thing is certain this week the squash pros will be very excited as they walk through Grand Central Station in their squash kit ready for action and ready to perform in front of one of the best crowds of all.

Madeline Perry – Sports Consultant

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