ITTF President Petra Sörling delivered a compelling keynote address at the highly anticipated Future of Sport event, a collaborative initiative between VivaTech and Global Sports Week. This transformative sports gathering, attended by nearly 100,000 industry professionals, enthusiasts, and visionaries, aimed to shape the future of sport through innovation and positive transformation. President Sörling’s keynote provided insights into the ITTF Group’s business model, setting a new industry standard.
In her address, President Sörling explored how the ITTF is actively shaping the future of table tennis by embracing emerging trends and pioneering innovative approaches. The ITTF’s bold and visionary business model, as exemplified by the success of World Table Tennis, has marked a transformative turning point in the future of sport.
The ITTF’s strategic decision in 2017 to reclaim all its rights and eliminate intermediaries laid the groundwork for a transformative business model shift. This visionary move aimed to safeguard table tennis from the influence of major investors and other financial forces reshaping the sports industry.
The ITTF Group brings together the International Table Tennis Federation as the sport’s governing body, the commercial entity World Table Tennis, and the humanitarian organization ITTF Foundation.
At the heart of the ITTF’s new business model is a profit-oriented mindset, professionalization, and the consolidation of all rights. World Table Tennis was established in 2020 as the ITTF’s commercial entity to revolutionize the sport’s future, propelling it to new heights of popularity and engagement.
This strategic approach has allowed World Table Tennis to introduce a new official professional table tennis series of events, attract corporate partners, and entice investors who recognize the immense potential and attractiveness of this new model. Notably, the ITTF remains the majority shareholder, ensuring the federation participates in decisions regarding the sport’s direction and long-term planning.
Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic, World Table Tennis emerged as a resilient and successful venture, generating a remarkable 50% increase in revenue in 2022 compared to the ITTF’s performance in 2019, despite a limited event calendar.
“Future of Sport by VivaTech and Global Sports Week was a great opportunity to present to sport leaders how the ITTF is actively shaping the future of table tennis, exploring emerging trends and pioneering innovative approaches to drive our beloved sport forward.” – President Sörling
Beyond the significant business advantages, the creation of World Table Tennis has also brought numerous non-business benefits to the ITTF. The establishment of a dedicated professional events company has elevated the quality and professionalism of table tennis events, delivering enhanced entertainment value to fans worldwide. Furthermore, it has empowered the ITTF to focus exclusively on its core mission of developing the sport, from grassroots development to talent nurturing. During this period, the ITTF has made remarkable strides in governance, sustainability, and education.