The ITTF have aimed to provide further details on the benefits of their future WTT model ©ITTF

International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) chief executive Steve Dainton says the World Table Tennis (WTT) commercial vehicle will benefit athletes and fans through better structured events.

The governing body officially announced WTT in March, with the body set to run all of the ITTF’s commercial and event business from 2021.

The introduction of WTT is expected to lead to the introduction of a series of new events, with the promise of increased prize money and a more modern experience for fans, broadcasters, players and hosts.

Four "Grand Smashes", will be put on by the ITTF, with each running for 10 days and featuring 64-player men's and women's fields.

The organisation wants to host the events at purpose-built table tennis venues and the prize pot could be $3 million (£2.4 million/€2.7 million).

A message from Dainton sought to provide further details about WTT, which was developed after Deloitte and Withers were hired in 2018 with the task of changing the way the governing body runs its business.

"Through World Table Tennis, we are endeavouring to build a platform and organisation that really benefits our athletes and fans directly, enabling better structured events and higher prize money, but at the same time, helps the ITTF and its Member Associations to grow the interest and popularity of the sport," Dainton said.

"Lots of time and resources have gone into this, as it’s a huge project that will revolutionise our sport for good.

"We know we are being super ambitious but we need to.

"We would prefer to be ambitious and fight for a brighter future than being afraid and thinking that change is difficult - we believe anything is possible if we put our mind to it and, as I always like to quote Albert Einstein: "Do not expect different results by doing the same things over and over again."

The ITTF say WTT will be able to increase the commercial value of the sport without internal distractions, as well as ensuring that the deficiencies that existed for the fans and the players are resolved.

It is claimed WTT will also allow the ITTF and the Member Associations to focus on their core activities.

The ITTF claim that other International Federations have shown interest in the model the governing body is adopting.

The ITTF say WTT will ensure better structured competitions for athletes and fans ©ITTF
The ITTF say WTT will ensure better structured competitions for athletes and fans ©ITTF

The ITTF expect WTT to deliver globally renowned commercial partners and investors, an exclusive women’s tour to further promote the women’s game, as well as unrivalled development and high-performance opportunities for all future stars.

The organisation hope it delivers a "robust commercial platform" to help table tennis to catch up with other sports, while producing enhanced television production and investment in a new social and digital strategy to further promote players and events.

"The professionalisation of our core top products is something that had been missing in our sport," said Matt Pound, ITTF marketing director.

"This is a great moment for table tennis, and we cannot wait to enter our new era upon overcoming the unforeseen challenges of 2020."

Under the plans, a WTT Series will feature on the calendar.

This will see a tour running around the year and split into three tiers.

There will be four WTT Champions events - four for women and four for men - featuring only the 32 highest-ranked players in the world. 

These tournaments will be played on one table.

WTT Star Contenders and WTT Contenders tournaments will also exist and there will be men's and women's events - potentially up to 20 in a season.

Two end-of-season finales known as the WTT Cup Finals - one for women and one for men - will also take place, with the top 16 players from the tour earning a tournament berth.

These and the Champions events will be "more focused and intimate events, allowing organisers to host in unusual and inspirational locations, instead of showing table tennis from the same old sports venues and halls around the world", according to a WTT promotional guide. 

Potential hosts will need to submit bids in May of this year, with hosts confirmed in June.

Philippe Le Floc’h, who has previously been FIFA's chief commercial officer and a marketing director at UEFA, has been appointed senior commercial strategy consultant for WTT.