The Chicago-based Walter Family has signed a multi-year agreement to sponsor the Professional Squash Association’s World Championships in a deal that will result in the event offering a record prize fund of $1m (€822,000).
The 2018-19 PSA World Championships will become the first squash tournament to award such a prize. As part of the agreement, the US city of Chicago has also been named as the host of the next two editions of the tournament in the winter of 2019 and 2021.
The deal renames the event as the Walter Family PSA World Championships. The new prize money represents a 100 per cent increase on the 2017 purse and will be split equally between the men’s and women’s draws.
Under a separate agreement between the PSA and the Walter Family, the Windy City Open World Series tournament will also return to Chicago in 2020 with a prize purse of $500,000. It will become the most lucrative PSA World Tour event outside of the World Championships. The event will continue to be hosted and promoted by the University Club of Chicago.
The Walter Family is active in philanthropy and focuses on the inner-city opportunity gap, social justice, education and conservation. It owns business in the investments, insurance, sports, media, real estate and food-service industries.
Mark Walter said: “My wife, Kimbra, and I are supporting the growth of squash in Chicago for three reasons. We want to raise money for MetroSquash, a terrific charity, and allow the kids to hit the court. We want to give this tremendously talented and highly diverse group of athletes the recognition they deserve. And we want to show off Chicago as a home for world-class sports.”