Mark Walter, centre, confirmed the sponsorship agreement ©PSA

Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Championships will be the first tournaments in the sport to offer $1 million (£720,000/€810,000) in prize money as part of a sponsorship deal with the Chicago-based Walter Family.

The PSA have confirmed as a result of the multi-year sponsorship deal, the tournament will take place at Chicago for the next two cycles.

Competitions are due to take place in 2019 and 2021.

The PSA have revealed the sponsorship has doubled the prize money available from the 2017 event in Manchester, while it will be split evenly between men’s and women’s events.

"The PSA World Championships is the pinnacle of the sport, and the $1 million prize fund is a fantastic reflection of the growth that squash has gone through during the past few years," Alex Gough, the PSA chief executive, said. 

The Walter Family are active in philanthropy, focusing on the inner-city opportunity gap, social justice, education and conservation.

Mark Walter owns businesses in the investments, insurance, sports, media, real estate, and food-service industries.

Walter first became involved with professional squash in 2015 when Guggenheim Partners, the investment firm he co-founded, became a sponsor of the Windy City Open.

The tournament’s official charity partner is MetroSquash, which trains Chicago Public School students in the sport and improves their academic achievement.

The charity partnership is now set to extend to the World Championships, enabling MetroSquash students to attend and hit on court with some of the top players in the world.

The World Championships will offer equal prize money for men and women ©Getty Images
The World Championships will offer equal prize money for men and women ©Getty Images

"The women’s and men's prizes are the same - and that has been the case since my wife and I became involved - because it reflects the value we place on gender equality, and it recognises this incredibly talented group of athletes," said Walter.

"My wife, Kimbra, and I are supporting the growth of squash in Chicago for three reasons.

"We want to raise money for MetroSquash, a terrific charity, and allow the kids to hit the court.

"We want to give this tremendously talented and highly diverse group of athletes the recognition they deserve.

"And we want to show off Chicago as a home for world-class sports."

A separate agreement will see the Windy City Open, a PSA World Series tournament, return in 2020 to Chicago.

The tournament will have a $500,000 (£358,000/€405,000) prize pool, which will make it the most lucrative PSA World Tour event outside of the World Championships.

The University Club of Chicago will continue to host and promote the event.