As the popularity of niche sports like pickleball continues to explode in the U.S., one MLB team owner has invested in another under-the-radar game: squash.
Mark Walter, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chelsea with a reported net worth of $5.2 billion, has made a significant financial investment — a source pegged as an eight-figure sum — in the commercial arm of the Professional Squash Association, which runs the sport’s top tour.
“[Walter] was really drawn to the athleticism and the performance of the athletes,” Kevin Klipstein, president and CEO of US Squash, told Front Office Sports.
Walter, whose Guggenheim Partners has an HQ in Chicago, first got into pro squash about a decade ago by investing in the Windy City Open and eventually helping make it the tour’s world championship event every other year with a purse of $1 million.
“There [was] interest and conversations about potentially investing in the tour and seeing what role he might play in potentially accelerating the tour’s development and growth and marketability,” Klipstein added.
The PSA is set to drive more media attention around pro squash and get matches on more platforms. US Squash hopes to increase domestic participation in a game that already enjoys an estimated 20 million players worldwide.
Klipstein says squash’s visibility has evolved greatly in the last decade, saying, “The potential for broadcasting it and making it appealing to an audience outside of the core squash audience is there.”