In a world where money means so much more in sport than in times gone by, squash is no longer just a hobby for many that are involved. With tour prize funds going up year on year, it is hard to ignore the financial progress being made in the sport.
How much does a squash player earn? The top male earner in 2018 made $278,000. The average professional tour player will make about $100,000 a year, and the vast majority of professionals much less than this. In comparison to some of the other global sports, squash is less lucrative.
In this article we cover aspects of pay such as how much pros on different parts of the tour will make, the pay gap between men and women, and tournament prize-funds around the world.
Pay For Squash Players – An Overview
In one of the more recent reports dealing with squash finances, the governing body of the sport, the PSA, has revealed that one thing is for certain. The pay gap between men and women has been reduced.
At the end of the last season, total compensation on the PSA World Tour eclipsed $6.4-million.
According to the PSA that was an 11 percent increase on the year before. Just five years ago, squash might not have been such an attractive career option, especially if you had tennis or golfing talents.
What The Future Holds
However, the next generation is likely to benefit from the sacrifices which have been made by those who came before them. There is also the ongoing campaign to have squash included at the Summer Olympics.
If that ever came to pass then it would certainly help raise the profile of the sport, which is what the Summer Games had always intended to do.
So, all the relevant stakeholders are clearly taking giant leaps in the right direction, even though there is so much catching up to do.
Men V Women
Total money available on the women’s tour last season was $2,599,000. That equated to an increase of a whopping 31 percent.
Total money available to men last season – was in the region of $3,820,000.
Squash authorities have gone out of their way to better promote the sport in recent years. More colourful arenas, bigger venues and better broadcast deals.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore that the aggressive campaign is starting to yield positive results, for both the men’s and women’s games.
The best male earner topped $278,231 in 2018 and that accounts for a 72 percent on three years ealier. More critically, perhaps, is that there is now more money to go around across the board.
The PSA reports that average earnings among men are up 37 percent, while average earnings among women are up 63 percent. Granted women have had to work their way up from a much lower base.
A Growing Sport
Part and parcel of generating more revenue for the game is spreading the gospel of the sport.
There have been extensive efforts to take squash to the most remote of venues in the past four years. They include places like Bolivia, which is famous for its high altitude.
That, in itself, adds an extra dimension for players and fans alike. There is compelling evidence to suggest that even more advances are being made in 2019.
The PSA World Tour
There are four basic structures on the PSA World Tour. They include:
– PSA World Tour Platinum
– PSA World Tour Gold
– PSA World Tour Silver
– PSA World Tour Bronze
The PLATINUM TOUR events on the schedule typically feature 48 players. These are the premium events for the season, which received the most marketing, the most attention and attract the biggest sponsors.
The GOLD, SILVER AND BRONZE TOURS typically feature 24 players. However, the earning scale for the three tiers of tournaments drops significantly the lower you go.
The drop is to be expected but the scale of the drop is a touch eye-catching.
World Tour Finals
The top eight players in the world rankings then earn an extra opportunity, after qualifying for the PSA World Tour Finals. The total prize money available at the World Tour Finals is $165,000.
The salary range for the different tournament structures, and the events they cover, are as follows:
N.B – Current Tournament Champions are recorded in brackets.
STAND ALONE TOURNAMENT;
– PSA World Championships pres. by Walter Family
PLATINUM TOUR – $164,500–$180,500
– FS Investments U.S. Open (Mohamed El Shorbagy and Raneem El Weleily)
– Qatar Classic (Ali Farag)
– Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Open (Mohamed El Shorbagy and Joelle King)
– CIB Black Ball Squash Open (Karim Abdel Gawad)
– J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini)
GOLD TOUR – $100,000–$120,500
– J.P. Morgan China Squash Open (Mohamed Abouelghar and Raneem El Weleily)
– Oracle Netsuite Open (Ali Farag)
– Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill (Tarek Momen)
SILVER TOUR – $70,000–$88,000
– CCI International (Tarek Momen)
– Suburban Collection Motor City Open (Mohamed Abouelghar)
– Oracle Netsuite Open (Sarah-Jane Perry)
BRONZE TOUR – $51,000–$53,000
– Carol Weymuller Open (Nour El Tayeb)
– QSF No.1 (Daryl Selby)
– Golootlo Pakistan Men’s Open (Karim Abdel Gawad)
– Cleveland Classic (Nour El Tayeb)
– Three Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open (Grégoire Marche)
Critical to competing at the World Tour Finals is the accumulation of ranking points throughout the season. Like the money, the different tournament structures have a different point structure.
PLATINUM TOUR – 19188 Ranking Points Available
GOLD TOUR – 10660 Ranking Points Available
SILVER TOUR – 7470 Ranking Points Available
BRONZE TOUR – 5330 Ranking Points Available
PSA Challenger Tour
It is the players competing on the PSA CHALLENGER TOUR who really struggle to make ends meet.
Critically, most of those players harbour ambitions of competing in the top tiers of the sport.
When travel, sustenance and lodgings are taken into account, the money available to them is extremely low.
Here is a brief glimpse of what athletes competing on the PSA Challenger Tour are up against.
Challenger Tour 30 – $28,000 Total prize money available
– Open International de Nantes (Declan James)
– Pakistan Chief of the Air Staff International (Youssef Soliman)
– Queclink HKFC International (Max Lee and Annie Au)
– Walker & Dunlop/Hussain Family Chicago Open (Ryan Cuskelly)
– Kolkata International (Saurav Ghosal)
– Bahl & Gaynor Cincinnati Cup (Hania El Hammamy)
Challenger Tour 20 – $18,000 Total prize money available
– Open International de Nantes (Nele Gilis)
– NASH Cup (Emily Whitlock)
– FMC International Squash Championship (Youssef Soliman)
– Faletti’s Hotel Int’l. Men’s Championship (Tayyab Aslam)
– Cleveland Skating Club Open (Richie Fallows)
– DHA Cup International Championship (Ivan Yuen)
– Golootlo Pakistan Women’s Open (Yathreb Adel)
– Monte Carlo Classic (Laura Massaro)
– 13th CNS International Squash Tournament (Youssef Ibrahim)
– London Open (James Willstrop and Fiona Moverley)
– Edinburgh Sports Club Open (Paul Coll and Hania El Hammamy)
Challenger Tour 10 – $11,000 Total prize money available
– Australian Open (Rex Hedrick and Low Wee Wern)
– Growthpoint SA Open (Mohamed ElSherbini and Farida Mohamed)
– Tarra KIA Bega Open (Rex Hedrick)
– Pakistan International Tournament Women’s (Rowan Elaraby)
– Sportwerk Open (Youssef Ibrahim)
– Remeo Open (Mahesh Mangaonkar)
– NASH Cup (Alfredo Ávila)
– Madeira Island Open (Todd Harrity)
– Aspin Kemp & Associates Aspin Cup (Vikram Malhotra)
– Texas Open Men’s Squash Championships (Vikram Malhotra)
– WLJ Capital Boston Open (Robertino Pezzota)
– CIB Wadi Degla Squash Tournament (Youssef Ibrahim and Zeina Mickawy)
– First Block Capital Jericho Open (Henrik Mustonen)
– JC Women’s Open (Samantha Cornett)
– PSA Valencia (Edmon López)
– Swiss Open (Youssef Ibrahim)
– APM Kelowna Open (Vikram Malhotra)
– Alliance Fabricating Ltd.Simon Warder Mem. (Shahjahan Khan and Samantha Cornett)
– Brussels Open (Mahesh Mangaonkar)
– Open International Niort-Venise Verte (Baptiste Masotti)
– Saskatoon Movember Boast (Dimitri Steinmann)
– Securian Open (Chris Hanson)
– Betty Griffin Memorial Florida Open (Iker Pajares)
– CSC Delaware Open (Lisa Aitken)
– Seattle Open (Ramit Tandon)
– Carter & Assante Classic (Baptiste Masotti)
– Linear Logistics Bankers Hall Pro-Am (Leonel Cárdenas)
– Life Time Atlanta Open (Henry Leung)
– EM Noll Classic (Youssef Ibrahim and Sabrina Sobhy)
Challenger Tour 5 – $11,000 Total prize money available
– Squash Melbourne Open (Christophe André and Vanessa Chu)
– City of Greater Shepparton International (Dimitri Steinmann)
– Prague Open (Shehab Essam)
– Roberts & Morrow North Coast Open ( Dimitri Steinmann and Christine Nunn)
– Pharmasyntez Russian Open (Jami Äijänen)
– Beijing Squash Challenge (Henry Leung)
– Kiva Club Open (Aditya Jagtap)
– Wakefield PSA Open (Juan Camilo Vargas)
– Big Head Wines White Oaks Court Classic (Daniel Mekbib)
– Faletti’s Hotel Int’l. Women’s Championship (Mélissa Alvès)
– Q Open (Richie Fallows and Low Wee Wern)
– 6th Open Provence Chateau-Arnoux (Kristian Frost)
– Pacific Toyota Cairns International (Darren Chan)
– 2nd PwC Open (Menna Hamed)
– Rhode Island Open (Olivia Fiechter)
– Romanian Open (Youssef Ibrahim)
– Czech Open (Fabien Verseille)
– DHA Cup International Championship (Farida Mohamed)
– Aston & Fincher Sutton Coldfield International (Victor Crouin)
– Airport Squash & Fitness Xmas Challenger (Farkas Balázs)
– Singapore Open (James Huang and Low Wee Wern)
– Tournoi Féminin Val de Marne (Mélissa Alvès)
– OceanBlue Log. Grimsby & Cleethorpes Open (Jaymie Haycocks)
– IMET PSA Open (Farkas Balázs)
– Internazionali d’Italia (Henry Leung and Lisa Aitken)
– Remeo Ladies Open (Lisa Aitken)
– Bourbon Trail Event No1 (Faraz Khan)
– Contrex Challenge Cup (Henry Leung and Mélissa Alvès)
– Select Gaming/The Colin Payne Kent Open (Jan Van Den Herrewegen)
– Bourbon Trail Event No2 (Aditya Jagtap)
– Odense Open (Benjamin Aubert)
– Savcor Finnish Open (Miko Äijänen)
– Bourbon Trail Event No3 (Aditya Jagtap)
– Falcon PSA Squash Cup Open
– Guilfoyle PSA Squash Classic
– Mount Royal University Open
– Hampshire Open
As is the case at the PSA World Tour Finals, there is an opportunity to cash in properly at the biggest event of the season, this time at the PSA World Championships.
PSA World Championships
As it just so happens, there is ample opportunity to try and make money in a regular squash season – which starts August and ends in July. That is a pretty full schedule.
However, the prize that both the men and women want more than any others is the World Championships. In 2019 the combined prize fund will be a whopping 1-million dollars up for grabs.
Among the list of Platinum Tournaments during a PSA World Tour Season are:
FS Investments U.S. Open – $169,000 Purse
Qatar Classic – $177,750 Purse
Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Open – $164,500 Purse
Black Ball Squash Open – $180,500 Purse
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions – $180,000 Purse
El Gouna International – $165,000 Purse
British Open – $165,000 Purse
J.P. Morgan China Squash Open – $120,500
Oracle Netsuite Open – $118,000
Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill – $106,000
Citigold Wealth Management Canary Wharf Classic – $100,000
Grasshopper Cup – $100,000
DPD Open – $100,000
Leading Players Of 2019 – Men
Egypt’s Ali Farag has won three tournaments this season – two of those were Platinum events. Farag was also a runner-up at three events. Two of those were Platinum events too.
Mohamed El Shorbagy has bagged two Platinum titles this season but beyond that, some of his results have been somewhat of a disappointment. They include two third-round exits at Platinum events.
In addition, he was dumped out of the first round at St George’s Hill late last year.
Leading Players Of 2019 – Women
This season, women’s squash has also been an Egyptian affair.
Raneem El Weleily and compatriot Nour El Sherbini have absolutely dominated the tour.
El Weleily has played five tournaments this season. The results include a Platinum and Gold victory, followed by runner-up campaigns at the Tournament of Champions, Hong Kong Open and the Netsuite Open.
El Sherbini has played four tournaments this season. They include two outings in the United States.
Maximum points were secured at one of those events, while she also lost a Championship Match to her compatriot El Weleily.
Squash still has a considerable way to go in this sphere and – to a large degree – the absence of any meaningful detail on the nature of a professional player’s contracts, perhaps highlights how untapped the earning and marketing potential in this sector is.
There is every indication the sport is heading in the right direction though.
In 2019 El Shorbagy is the world’s premier player , although the status quo might not remain for much longer. He has a series of glamorous endorsement deals with Red Bull, Tecnifibre, Channel Vas and Rowe.
Farag, the man threatening to steal El Shorbagy’s thunder, currently has a deal with manufacturer Dunlop Hyperfibre.
World Number Three Tarek Momen, also Egyptian, currently has an endorsement deal with Harrow.
Germany’s Simon Rösner – and the only European among the top five in the world – currently has what appears to be a major endorsement deal for the Oliver Apex 700.
Karim Abdel Gawad is the World Number Five and another Egyptian superstar. Gawad is a brand ambassador for Harrow Sports, Rowe, Hutkayfit, Eye Rackets and the Commercial International Bank.
Raneem El Welily is the top player in women’s squash and an ambassador for the Harrow brand.
Another Egyptian, Nour el Sherbini, is the women’s number two. She has a very established and well marketed brand, as is evidenced on her own personal website.
Among her brands are the Tecnfibre Carboflex 125 NS, Dunlop ball and the NS Signature apparel.
She is a great example of somebody who has not only secured the top contracts but has also branded herself well.
Joelle King is New Zealand’s finest and World Number Three. She is also the brand ambassador for HEAD. Among her other partners are Honda, High Performance Sport New Zealand, Cambridge Racquets Club, USANA, ASICS and 67.
World Number Four, Nour El Tayeb, is also Egyptian and a brand ambassador for Dunlop.
World Number Five Serme Camille is from France. She is the brand ambassador for Artengo.
Comparison With Tennis Players
The BIG THREE in tennis are no longer at the peak of their powers. However, they are still leap years ahead of their peers and the total earnings they recorded in the twelve months ending July, 2018 suggest as much.
ROGER FEDERER pocketed a total of $77-million. He did not win that much in 2018 – well not as much as he used to anyway. However, his endorsement deals are still valued at a whopping $65-million.
KING OF CLAY RAFAEL NADAL pocketed a whopping $41-million in 2018. Endorsements accounted for $27-million.
The surprise name at the top of this list is that of KEI NISHIKORI, the golden boy of Japanese tennis.
The fact that he earned $33-million in endorsements alone, confirms just how valuable a brand he is, even though he does not win as often as others do.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC pocketed a total of $23.5-million in the twelve months ended July 2018. Of that $22-million came from endorsements.
SERENA WILLIAMS was away from the court for more than a year but still managed to crack the top five on the list. Her total earnings were in the region of $18.1-million. Almost all of that was from endorsements.
So, there we are folks. If ever we needed any reminding of how much ground squash still needs to cover, this is probably it.
Squash is far from being one of the world’s more lucrative sports, but it is growing in prize money year after year. Many more professional players now have a string of endorsements to add to this stream of tournament income.
With the possiblity of squash being made an Olympic sport, and the with the general worldwide growth of squash, the future looks even brighter.