During the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Astana, Kazakhstan; the ITTF World Tour and T2 signed a collaboration agreement.
The agreement will see the ITTF World Tour and T2 Asia & Pacific Table Tennis League working together to grow both properties for the betterment of global table tennis.
Mr Frank JI, who is the Founder & Chairman of T2 as well as the Chairman of Seamaster, the title sponsor of the ITTF World Tour stated:
“My goal is to create an environment where our table tennis players are adored and loved by millions across the world and not just by table tennis fans. An environment that would attract more media attention, more TV broadcasters, more fans and more money into the sport. I want table tennis to be one of the biggest sports in the world, and have our players become rich and famous! This is why I created the T2 league and sponsored the ITTF World Tour.”
“I see many synergies between the two properties, which is why this collaboration makes sense, so ITTF and T2 can work more closely together and achieve my goal of table tennis being a flourishing commercial sport,” concluded Mr JI, who is also the Special Advisor to the ITTF President for Commercial Business.
The collaboration will involve the ITTF World Tour, incorporating certain elements from T2, such as using multiple balls during matches, increased player promotion, player contracts and broadcast innovations.
The biggest aspect of the collaboration is that T2 will become the ITTF competition laboratory, whereby the ITTF can test new innovations such as ball tracking spin and speed, as well as the challenge system where players can challenge an umpire’s decision. This could work for edge ball and even fault serves. T2 is a perfect environment for testing to see if concepts are fit for official ITTF competitions.
ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT stated during the signing ceremony: “We are very happy to have people like Frank Ji in our sport, we need more passion, more ideas and more energy. With Mr Frank JI on board, we have been able to innovate and develop the 2017 ITTF World Tour, which resulted in record prize money, record TV viewership and record TV interest.”
“2018 is an important year for the ITTF, so we are looking forward to the collaboration, which will assist the ITTF to take the ITTF World Tour to new heights.”
The first event of the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour will be the Hungarian Open commencing on 18 January 2018.