Investment deal strengthens PSA’s bond with Sports Data Labs

Image: PSA

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) has made its first external technology investment by agreeing to strengthen its ties with Sports Data Labs (SDL).

The human data technology provider is an existing partner of the PSA, global governing body for the administration of both men’s and women’s professional squash, utilising in-game human data solution to provide human performance metrics for its live broadcasts, as well as for player optimisation and training purposes.

Through its relationship with the PSA World Tour, SDL has bolstered its position as a supplier of real-time, in-game physiological and performance data to third-party vendors. SDL and the PSA have also achieved a number of firsts in pro sports, including the first partnership to implement an in-game human data solution for an entire season, as well as the first partnership to establish a prize pool for athletes who allow their data to be commercialised.

SDL has also driven multiple deals on behalf of the Tour, including the PSA’s recent broadcast partnership with Malaysian airline AirAsia.

SDL co-founder and president, Stan Mimoto, said: “Our goal has always been to maximise the value of our collected data for all stakeholders, including players, coaches, Tour administrators, medical staff, and consumer-facing platforms. The PSA’s investment signals that we are on the right path to value creation and sustainability, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the PSA and helping them unlock the value of their data.”

PSA chief executive Alex Gough added: “We strongly believe in the company’s potential, as well as the broader opportunities with human data.

“We will continue to create new content and opportunities for athlete performance optimisation, fan engagement and monetisation. The future of human data within the sports ecosystem is bright and we’re delighted to be partnering with SDL on this journey.”

The PSA joins global sports, entertainment and lifestyle investment platform Aser Ventures, as well as other prominent seed investors, in SDL’s investor base.

In other news, World Squash Federation (WSF) president Jacques Fontaine has said that plans are underway to relaunch the World Cup in 2020 as part of efforts to turn the page on a challenging 2019. In his New Year message, Fontaine said the recent appointment of William Louis-Marie as the federation’s new chief executive is testament to the new ambition of WSF.

In 2019, squash saw its long-running campaign to secure a place on the Olympic Games programme dashed once more as it was shunned from the line-up for the 2024 Games in Paris. Fontaine said: “One of the key components to our future success is our strengthened relationship with the PSA and this partnership was clear to see in the support they provided to our hugely-successful World Team Championship, the first to be held in the USA.

“After successful presentations of the sport in the Pan-American Games, the South Asian Games and the SEA Games in 2019, the WSF will stage three major championships in 2020: the World Masters in Poland, the World Junior Championships in Australia and the Women’s World Team Championship in Malaysia and we are confident this will foster the potential of our sport and greatly benefit our national federations that host these events.

“Furthermore, plans are underway to relaunch the World Cup in 2020, one of our major assets that needs to be part of our portfolio of tournaments organised under the WSF umbrella.

“In addition to strengthening our governance and independence with a clear focus on generating new revenues, we will be working to establish stronger relationships with major continental and international sporting bodies to ensure the presence and exposure of squash the world over.

“After painstaking work with the PSA, the launch of the WSO (World Squash Officiating) platform will definitely improve our officiating the world over and support our members locally.

“Our focus will remain on expanding our sport globally and ensuring an emphasis on coach and referee training to support a balanced development of our sport from grassroots to the elite level.

“Underlying our plans for 2020 will be the bid to establish stronger cooperation between all squash stakeholders, as squash will continue to address all challenges responsibly and professionally for the best interest of our sport.”