Women’s squash boosted by $500,000 sponsorship
The Women’s Squash Association (WSA) has finalised a major long-term agreement with Hallmark Events Group to stage the Women’s World Squash Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – and guarantee a total prize-fund in excess of US$ 500,000.
The 2014 championship will be staged from December 12-19 (venue to be confirmed) and will be held as the last event of the year on the WSA World Tour in 2015 and 2016 as well.
Total player prize money will rise from US$ 150,000 in 2014, to US$ 175,000 in 2015, before reaching a record US$ 215,000 in 2016.
“We are delighted to have secured the Women’s World Championships for the next three years,” said WSA President Kasey Brown. “The increase in prize money levels is not only fantastic news for the players, but also a prime example of the growth the WSA World Tour is experiencing.
“We are excited to collaborate with Hallmark and work together to showcase the finest women’s squash has to offer at our premier event.”
Hallmark Events Group Founder and Managing Director Simon Arnold stated that Hallmark is equally thrilled to reach a long-term arrangement with the WSA in conjunction with the World Squash Federation (WSF). “We’re looking forward to working with the WSA to continue to grow the Women’s World Championship as the pinnacle event on the WSA World Tour.
“Our plans for the championship include iconic venues, new sponsors and greater fan engagement.”
England’s reigning world champion Laura Massaro (pictured above) will be looking to defend her title in December, while Malaysia’s world No.1 Nicol David will also be eager to extend her seven-title record and regain the title she surrendered in Penang earlier this year in a tournament held over from 2014 as WSA suffered a management meltdown ahead of Dutch promoter Tommy Berden taking over.
Disgruntled players were furious that the men’s World Championship went ahead in Manchester without a women’s event running alongside. Penang stepped in to stage the 2014 event early in the following year.
Now the WSA appears to have signed a forward-thinking agreement with a company that handles both presentation and sponsorship, leaving the players to concentrate on playing instead of politics.
The venue for the 2014 championship, which uses dates for the now re-scheduled WSF World Cup, will be announced shortly.