Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The Detroit Tigers… the Detroit Lions… Red Wings, Pistons and now… the Detroit Squash Professionals! It will take sponsorship dollars. How much I don’t know and really couldn’t venture a guess either (even though I will later on). But just imagine if the DAC had its own professional squash team playing in a US Professional Squash League. A team that would play half a dozen times at the DAC during the season and feature some potential match-ups with Jon Power and David Palmer, or John White and Wael El Hindi…

It’s a juicy thought. Professional leagues are not new to squash. Virtually every other western European country has one: Germany, England, Holland, Switzerland, France, even the Czech Republic just to name a few. But here, in the US, where private clubs have deep pocketed members, a professional squash league doesn’t exist… yet.

Once again the initiator behind this idea is Joe McManus. The same Joe McManus that created the US Pro Squash Tour (PST) with the “no-let” rule that inspired the Professional Squash Association (PSA) to ban its players from. Still in its development, the initial plan is to start the league for the 2011-2012 season and right now only in the north-eastern part of the country, namely New York and Boston areas. But recent developments has Joe thinking about opening up the team bids all the way into the mid-west region as well, including Detroit. Depending on its success, plans to expand the league into the western costal region are in the works for the following years.

Here is the outline of the concept:
Teams will consist of 6 men and 3 women. I believe the idea is to have 2 men and 1 woman play every scheduled round. All the teams will be locally owned and managed by the club and/or its members. It is up to the owners what they would like to call their team, (We can call ourselves the “Detroit Motorheads” for example!) their branding, marketing, merchandising, ticket sales to each league week, fund raising and sponsorship deals, the revenue earning. They will be able to draft their own players. The direction of team is totally up to the owners as well.

Here is an outline of the initial cost:
The minimum bid for team rights is $6000. The annual league fee is $4000 which would be waved in the first year. The unknowns would be how much money you need to pay the players since I haven’t the foggiest inkling of what the going rate is for a top pro to commit to a weekend league match in the US. Add on the expenses of their food, hotel, travel, and it does start to add up. Especially if you need to field a team 10 times a season plus finals, and then maybe offer bonuses for performance. So maybe it’s $50K - $60K a year? Much of the cost may be made up with ticket sales to league days, merchandise sales, etc. Owners and sponsors will be able to place their brand on shirts, warm-ups, whatever they choose to advertise the team with. (Naturally, keeping in line with all the DAC policies!)

So maybe the answer to getting professional squash at the DAC consistently, multiple times a year, in place of running one annual professional squash tournament, we could run a professional squash team instead. Or run both? The interest and support in squash that could be generated in the club could be a huge increase for our sport if members were directly linked to a pro team. Anyone want to own one? It all comes down to one thing: It will take sponsorship dollars. If you think this is something that you and your company would be interested in investing in please do not hesitate to contact me.

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