By Kevin Klipstein
We often encounter circumstances which lead us to a crossroads. The choices are either cooperate and partner with an organization to further our collective goals together, or decide to work independently, and in an uncoordinated fashion. Almost without fail, we will choose to partner with another group, the reason being, squash is small and the more coordinated our efforts are, the larger they will appear. It’s also an excellent way to gain efficiencies, and when resources are scarce, as they are in squash, this makes sense.
Squash’s relatively small size can either be a disadvantage or an advantage as we seek to raise the profile of the sport, and increase access to it in the US. The advantage to being small is that it’s relatively easy to work together, define shared goals and a plan to reach them, and collaborate, usually in informal partnership. U.S. SQUASH doesn’t do everything in squash, though we are increasingly able to play an important role in coordinating and optimizing the efforts of others working to promote the sport in the US and around the world.
Other organizations also take the lead, and leaders of these organizations receive plenty of “input and feedback” (outright criticism) as they struggle in under-resourced environments to make a positive impact on the sport. This makes highlighting the positive that organizations are doing that much more essential in this age of instant, free, fact-less, global opinionating. That being said, the Professional Squash Association (PSA), its Board of Directors, and leaders, namely CEO Alex Gough and COO Lee Beachill deserve a serious tip of the hat.
It is not an understatement to say that the PSA has nearly transformed the presentation of squash in just over a year. What the PSA has done is make a big bet on what will move the needle for the sport’s marketability. This in turn will have a major impact on squash’s ability to make a case in the seemingly endless bid to join the Olympics. For squash to get any reasonable share of mind and eyeballs, and ultimately corporate advertising and sponsorship dollars, it simply must be on TV. In the last year, the PSA has successfully launched WWW.PSASQUASHTV.COM. This effort is a huge positive step in this direction and one that no other organization could have taken. What’s more, by taking the lead, PSA has openly and generously incorporated significant Women’s Squash Association coverage, and offered top tier events an excellent product to leverage.
The site is currently averaging approximately 50,000 unique visitors per month and delivers live streaming of hundreds of squash matches from dozens of pro events throughout the year. In doing so, it also provides the live and tape delayed feed for distribution to broadcasters in dozens of countries around the world, with a potential household reach of 323 million. Just the other week, the World Series Final was being shown live on BSkyB in the UK. Sky is the largest pay-TV broadcaster in the United Kingdom and Ireland with over 10 million subscribers.
PSASQUASHTV.COM also has built up a significant catalog of past matches from dozens of tournaments including all the World Series events. The site offers daily, monthly and annual subscription rates and with a U.S. SQUASH membership, you can enjoy a promotional discount. Look for emails sent to members for the code to enjoy your discount, to get access to outstanding streaming and commentary, and to support what is likely the most important initiative for squash. To offer some perspective, in 2009, before the advent of Squash TV, 9000 people logged on to watch the live stream of the U.S. Open finals in Chicago, which at the time, was being hailed as a landmark number. This past October, the U.S. Open final in Philadelphia was loaded over 732,000 times. Squash is small, congratulations and thank you to the PSA for making the best case for not keeping it that way.