JP Morgan Tournament of Champions – Go for the squash experience!

So I bought tickets to the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions held in New York City later this month. Grand Central

But, before I did, I had a dilemma. Do I pick the early rounds, or do I try to catch the finals? A week off from work would have been nice; but, I have to make a living!

Tough call!

The early rounds would mean that I may get some lopsided matches. Gregory Gaultier could potentially take out a wildcard qualifier in less than thirty minutes. A final, or even a semi-final match would ensure that I got to watch some of the best players of the game battling it out on the court.

But then again, the final match could end in a straight 3-0 victory for the winner and wrap up in thirty to forty minutes – not enough time to take it all in.

After all, going to watch a professional tournament – be it squash, tennis, hockey or basketball – is not all about the game.

It is about the experience, something that squash tournaments are not famous for.

But, the Tournament of Champions is different.

It is held in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal!

There is a reason that the largest commuter train terminal in the world is called the Grand Central.

It is grand and it is centrally located in midtown Manhattan.

Likewise, there is a reason that the first PSA World Series tournament of the year is called the Tournament of Champions (TOC). It is a premier squash event that attracts all the reigning champions of the game – 21 of the top 25 PSA ranked players and 18 of the top 20 WSA ranked players at last count. It’s too bad that Ramy Ashour and James Willstrop will miss the tournament due to injuries.

JP Morgan Tournament of ChampionsIt is befitting that the tournament is held in the Grand Central Terminal’s spectacular Vanderbilt Hall, known for hosting many cultural and artistic events. It is a venue that attracts regular commuters and tourists alike, ensuring that around two hundred thousand people who pass by get a glimpse of some of the best squash played today, for free.

The five-hundred or so paid seats within the Vanderbilt Hall offer patrons close up views of the game from vantage points behind the back glass wall and side-walls. The other half of the Vanderbilt Hall would be converted into exhibitor and hospitality area providing commuters a perfect walkway through the middle.

Squash could use the exposure!

It is a high traffic venue, in a big city, with well-heeled business people. A casual patron could become an ardent fan of the game. A senior marketing executive who passes by could become a future sponsor of the tournament.

The timing is right.

Parity for prize money between male and female players have been finally achieved. Squash as an Olympic sport is not completely off the radar. Squash can be a spectator sport, in the right venue, like Grand Central.

So, I picked the early rounds, for the squash experience!