Good afternoon Alex, Theracketstore.com is very grateful to have some
minutes to talk with such an important organisation. We want to
announce our followers the main plans of the professional squash
association (PSA). Let´s go with the interview.
In a few words, how and why was the PSA born?
The PSA was formed in 1993 after ISPA [International Squash Players Association] and WPSA (World Professional Squash Association) merged to form one professional squash body.
Over the past 25 years, the PSA has been responsible for the running of and administration of the professional game around the world and has showcased the sport in some of the world's most iconic sporting locations.
We have the feeling that the professional circuit is growing and growing. From inside the organisation, are these thoughts true?
Absolutely, the professional squash circuit has been through very positive growth with prize money and the global reach of the tour increasing, while we are taking huge steps forward to achieve equality and parity between our male and female athletes.
In addition to this, we have signed a number of groundbreaking broadcast deals in recent years. Agreements with Eurosport Player, DAZN, BT Sport, Astro and more have contributed to the increased reach of the PSA World Tour, while the invention of high definition cameras has ensured that the sport is presented in crystal-clear definition.
Important changes are coming for the next season. What does the PSA achieve with this new structure?
We are excited for the change in tour structure to come into effect and believe that it will enable us to streamline professional squash and increase earning potential for our players.
The world's most prestigious tournaments will continue to prosper on the PSA World Tour, while the PSA Challenger Tour will feature some of the sport's greatest up-and-coming players as they hone their talents and work their way up the rankings.
Scrapping qualification will help players gain valuable tournament experience and increase earnings, while the bigger draws mean that squash fans will see a new generation of players feature on SQUASHTV in the opening rounds.
We're also excited about the formation of the WSF & PSA Satellite Tour, which will integrate tournaments from that tour into the PSA World Rankings.
We think this will help to ease the transition from junior squash to professional squash, while it will strengthen the link between the PSA and the World Squash Federation.
What have SquashTV contribute to squash? Who are its main creators?
SquashTV was initially a joint-venture with the PERFORM GROUP, which launched in 2010. SQUASHTV has helped transform the visibility of professional squash and has truly become the home of the sport.
In addition to giving our athletes a platform in which to showcase their skills, we have also made significant improvements to the platform.
We have announced two new exciting partnerships already this year which have enhanced the service considerably. Along with interactiveSQUASH, we have launched a real-time tracking system called 'Mo Track', which enables us to measure metrics such as distance covered during matches and the amount of shots hit per rally. This system was used at both the Swedish Open in February and the Grasshopper Cup in March.
We have also partnered with Sports Data Labs to capture athlete's heart-rate data, which was integrated into the broadcast of the Windy City Open in February. This enables us to demonstrate the athleticism required to perform on the professional squash circuit.
We are aiming to fully integrate these technologies into our future broadcast and hope that it will enhance the spectacle for players and fans alike.
SQUASHTV has also been used outside of tournaments on the PSA World Tour this season, filming coverage of the British Junior Open and British Nationals in 2018, while we also filmed action from the College National Team Championships in 2017.
Can you give us some ideas about PSA medium and long term objectives?
Our ultimate goal is to manage and promote a thriving and sustainable professional squash circuit which offers the players worldwide equal opportunity to maximise their career potential while inspiring a global fanbase of players and fans alike.
The change to our tour structure will enable us to give greater support to our tournament promoters to help them in the successful delivery of tournaments.
In summary, how can amateur and professional squash still grow around the world?
SQUASHTV has enabled us to showcase our athletes to the world while developments to the service - such as the aforementioned partnerships with Sports Data Labs and InteractiveSQUASH - will allow us to market the professional game to a greater depth than ever before.
Strategic partnerships with the likes of Olympic Channel, Eurosport Player and DAZN have enabled us to grow the audience for squash, while we're in talks with a range of broadcasters regarding deals that would greatly enhance the reach of the sport.
We have also strengthened our relationship with the World Squash Federation (WSF) and we are working together to grow the sport on a global scale.
As part of this relationship and the new tour structure, the aforementioned WSF & PSA Satellite tour has has been created which will run throughout the calendar year. The aim is to give junior players a clear pathway onto the professional circuit.
Alongside the WSF, we've also launched SquashFORWARD which brings together eight young players from around the world to help shape the future of the sport.
These players will have a vital role to play in the growth of the sport for years to come so it's important for us to take their ideas on board as we look to develop squash and safeguard the sport's future.