The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is looking to modernize the sport and has launched the World Table Tennis (WTT) as the vehicle responsible for moving the sport forward. According to an ITTF release, WTT should be up and running in 2021 when new marquee events and an exclusive women’s tour should be up and runningAdditionally, the WTT promises to more than double the existing prize money.“WTT is the ITTF’s new commercial vehicle to drive table tennis forward in the modern era, with innovations to all facets of the global table tennis product, “ the ITTF release stated. According to the ITTF, in 2016 it hired professional consultants Deloitte and Withers to assist the ITTF in remodeling its business approach.The result was the birth of WTT, which will run off of the ITTF’s commercial and business events from next year.“Through World Table Tennis, we are endeavouring to build a platform that really benefits our athletes and fans, enabling better structured events and higher prize money. Lots of time and resources have gone into this, as it’s a huge project that will revolutionise our sport for good. The professionalisation of our core top products is something that had been missing in our sport. This is a great moment for table tennis, and we cannot wait to enter our new era upon overcoming the unforeseen challenges of 2020.” – Steve Dainton, ITTF CEO We are committed to following our new strategy. We must be transparent, uphold good governance and make sure that all of our stakeholders can follow our steps forward. We want that players are more satisfied by prize money and events themselves, while we also want to support our members by making more money to reinvest into the development of our key stakeholders.” – Thomas Weikert, ITTF President At the pinnacle of the new event structure are the Grand Smashes. Up to four times per year for 10 days per event, the top 64 men and 64 women on the planet will compete for up to USD $ 3 million. Providing the perfect mix of the highest-level table tennis, community activation and entertainment, the Grand Smashes are the marquee events that all players want to win, all cities want to host, and all fans simply cannot miss! Providing the constant, adrenaline-filled action throughout the year will be the WTT Series, giving all athletes adequate events to play in and enabling fans from all corners of the world to watch their idols in the flesh. USD $ 8 million in prize money is up for grabs across the WTT Champions Series and showpiece WTT Cup Finals, while the Star Contender and Contender Series offer opportunities for up and coming athletes to climb the ladder of professional table tennis. The benefits of the new event structure are widespread: greater competition among athletes to attain more attractive prize monies; separate women’s events to brighten the spotlight on the next generation of female stars; iconic venues and locations for an “I was there” experience and world-class TV production and digital storytelling to entertain a growing global fanbase. After all, WTT events are not designed just for sports fan, but all people who love to be entertained. With events spread around the world, WTT wants people to experience live table tennis who have never had the opportunity before.
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