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world tourTable tennis fans can expect a new exciting table tennis world tour in 2019.

Although Sydney will miss out due to the 2017 financial mismanagement of the Gold Coast ITTF event, the disappointment of not watching the best table tennis players which will prevent spectators how to learn and play table tennis at the highest level will be lessened if Geelong continues to hold a Diamond event.

The new T2 APAC event in 2017 was quite successful and attracted 28 million tv viewers. It adopted innovations such as pushy ultra cheesy announcers, tables without the middle line, rather strange team events and new scoring rules (which totally confounded me even till this day) and a 'cavern' studio similar to tv's Survivor and USA's American Ninja Warrior shows. Getting the best players from many countries at the expense of signing up the best players in the world lead to China's champion players missing out. Either the Ma Longs were too busy or the organizers excluded them so that the comp would be more competitive.

Watch the 2017 Final:

 

 

 

 

 

 

In July 2018, the ITTF announced that it will collaborate with T2APAC League, under ITTF’s new professional platform.  "With this, table tennis will become one of the first sports to have its world championships and truly professional platforms under one roof connected to its world ranking and Olympic Qualification systems.

Innovation and change for players
A major part of the new Sportsmaster contract is to assist the ITTF to fully professionalize its World Tour. As part of this deal in 2019 and 2020, the ITTF will grant T2APAC the rights to arrange Diamond events. T2APAC will bring new initiatives that will restructure the Seamaster ITTF World Tour to the next level and transform the sport by 2021.  These include new gameplay formats, ball-tracking technology, player management and broadcast innovations, etc.

If this proves to be successful, the ITTF will re-consider the way its events deal with players and event organizers." 

Wow, if it becomes successful, the changed rules of the 40 mm ball, 11 points per game and plastic ball will be tame by comparison.

Recently, the new event has resulted in incredible Interest to host 2021 World Table Tennis Championships. "The International Table Tennis (ITTF) has received an unprecedented amount of interest to host the newly reformed World Table Tennis Championships Finals. Eight countries - Australia, Chile, Germany, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Tunisia and the United States of America have expressed their interest to host the 2021 championship. Chile, Germany, Morocco, Puerto Rico and Tunisia expressed interest for 2022 Championships Finals together with China, Japan, Portugal, Romania and Spain." 

There will be three T2Diamond events in 2019 as announced by the ITTF. 

  • Tournament 1: 18 July – 21 July 2019
  • Tournament 2: 26 September – 29 September 2019
  • Tournament 3: 28 November – 1 December 2019

"The T2 DNA will be preserved, with all events being played on one table and fans being able to get up close and personal with the world’s best table tennis players. Together with world-class broadcast and innovative digital marketing, these three T2Diamond events will showcase even more of the beauty of this incredible sport to an even wider consumer demographic.”

"Headquartered in Singapore and with offices in Shanghai, Chicago and Tokyo, T2Diamond is a pan-regional first-of-its-kind t2reducedprofessional table-tennis league that features a new groundbreaking format. The first season of the league featured separate but concurrent Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed-Team Championships, a player draft system (for the Mixed-Team Championship), 24-minute time limit per match, and a unique scoring system."

Only one country can hold the World finals, so there's little chance of it happening in Australia and it's doubtful that we can hold one of the three Diamond tier events in 2019. It all means that there will be much more money for the professional world players but the new rules might change table tennis to an unrecognizable degree. Unfortunately, I am not a great fan of Survivor and American Ninja which showcase tension, pumped up music and artificially set up contests. But if it results in increased tv coverage and lots of new tv viewers, there should be huge money for table tennis players and also I like the video quality of the T2APAC format. It'd be amazing if 4K videos could be produced for the affordable 4K televisions appearing on the market.

Whether the sport will retain its integrity in the face of commercialization will be interesting.

 

 

 

 

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