The extensive alliance, which commences in January 2021, includes global media rights development and distribution, production oversight of WTT events, betting data and streaming rights for IMG Arena, non-exclusive sponsorship representation, as well as the general mandate to grow the sport of table tennis globally.
The events covered by the deal will include the World Table Tennis Championships and all tiers of the revamped WTT event structure: Grand Smashes, WTT Cup Finals, WTT Champions Series and WTT Contenders Series.
In January 2021, WTT will launch its new WTT Series, a totally revamped competition which will radically change the sport and its perception. Supporting the WTT Series, an innovative commercial strategy will be implemented, controlling content production and enabling digital engagement with fans around the world as well as factoring in best practices and latest consumer trends.
Liu Guoliang, WTT Council Chair, stated: “We are very excited to have IMG on board this historic journey to help us professionalize and commercialize table tennis throughout the world, and I look forward to our joint efforts to develop the global game to greater new heights.”
Steve Dainton, ITTF CEO and WTT Director, declared: “The World Table Tennis era will revolutionize the sport forever and we are delighted to be welcoming on board an industry powerhouse in IMG, whose wealth of expertise will help us to make this historic transformation for table tennis. This is fantastic news for the sport, the players, the fans, the host cities, the commercial partners and everyone who will be joining us on this exciting journey.”
Adam Kelly, Co-President of Media & Events at IMG, also underlined the bright future that lies in wait for table tennis: “This is an exciting partnership at a key stage in the commercial redefinition of table tennis, through WTT, around the world. We share the vision that the ITTF and WTT have for the sport over the coming years and believe our energy, creativity and expertise on a global scale will add true value across all aspects of the WTT business.”
He added: “In addition, we are already looking at opportunities to involve other parts of the wider Endeavor network, to further enhance the commercial value and consumer offering for table tennis. We look forward to continuing to build upon this strategic relationship, by adding more services that help to reinvent the sport.”
The innovative partnership is structured in a way that allows both partners to work openly and collaboratively to develop all the commercial rights of WTT and to ensure the global growth of table tennis.
Putting players and fans at the very heart of its mission, WTT was set up by the ITTF in August 2019 to modernize its commercial business activities and realize the full potential of table tennis in order to compete among the highest-profile sports in the world. WTT will start running events from 2021.
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media. The company manages some of the world’s greatest athletes and fashion icons; owns and operates hundreds of live events annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in licensing, sports training and league development. IMG is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports and content company.