There’s one big factor in sport- Money! It’s behind everything, anything you see that’s to do with sport is there because of money, the signs, courts, buildings, coaches, spectator seats, water stands and even the athlete.
Tennis, golf, football and well, any major sport earns fantastic dollars and if your good enough (smart enough helps too) you can live off those earnings for your life expenses, even after retiring. In fact for a lot of them there’s the important things like buying yourself a mansion in Malibu and driving the latest Maserati or both! Generally they have managers and publicists to look after them, guiding them through their busy lives of training and competing. The money they earn can be invested to continue earning their fortunes well after the have stopped playing, even passing it on for their children, it’s literally like building an empire! (Am I sounding jealous!?)
For the smaller, less appreciated sports like Squash we scrape the barrels to get by! It makes me think of all those shows and movies of waitresses with the big dreams to be a famous movie star! More disappointment than success but there’s always hope to see your name in shinning lights!
Where I am right now coming up the ranks is always going to be the tough spot for money, you spend more getting to the tournaments than you do earning at them. Your working towards your big break where you can finally take a breath, and not stress about how your paying next months rent. Most of us have side money makers like coaching or other jobs to support ourselves.
It’s sponsorships, endorsements and advertising rights that pump money into sports. The participation factor also has a role, take football for example it’s the most commonly played sport in the world so automatically the percentage of the population to be reached is the greatest. The investors want bang for their buck so bigger the audience the bigger the $ signs! It also creates competition for the limited spots on a team so if your good enough to make it then you deserve to get paid!
The broadcasting of sport plays a vital role in its survival, Squash, occasionally appears on television but it is not yet a regular scene. However, the sport is growing and becoming regularly streamed live online through various streaming sites.There are ideas out there on how to improve and make squash more accessible. For example I was lucky enough to play on an all glass court set in a shopping mall which was televised and tested new flooring with LED lighting underneath the floor surface. Advertisements and sponsors can be displayed without distracting the players, hopefully this is a good sign for future media coverage of Squash.
It’s insanity that certain sports such as tennis earn millions for a single tournament win at a Grand Slam and for squash it would take multiple tournament wins even at the highest paid level to equal. If your not aware, I do not appreciate tennis in comparison to squash for various reasons, money, physicality and because whenever someone isn’t sure about squash they say ‘oh it’s like tennis right?’ No! No it’s really not!
Whinge all I like but at the end of the day, after all the great ideas, I realise as a player I care more for the sport and playing it than I do earning all the money in the world from it. Although… driving a Maserati would be a nice bonus 😉
& that’s my athlete mind…