T2 aims to sparkle with diamond-tier events

The T2 professional table tennis series announced yesterday a new "diamond tier" of events starting next year.

Called T2Diamond, it comprises three tournaments (July 18-21, Sept 26-29 and Nov 28-Dec 1) and will feature the paddlers with the highest points from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour. The Singapore Table Tennis Association told The Straits Times that it does not plan to bid to host any of the tournaments.

ITTF chief executive Steve Dainton said the T2Diamond will be a test bed to explore broadcast innovations and develop integrated marketing campaigns to raise the profile of the sport.

He said: "This collaboration gives the ITTF the perfect opportunity to test innovations that will enhance our professional product leading to our next rights cycle in 2021."

T2 chief executive and commissioner Jeff Chue added: "The T2 DNA will be preserved, with all events 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 coverage and innovative digital marketing, I am sure these three T2Diamond events will showcase even more of the beauty of this incredible sport to an even wider consumer demographic."

The T2 was started last year as a pan-regional professional table tennis league with a new format of 24-minute, time-based matches.

The inaugural edition featured 36 of the world's best players competing for a prize purse of over US$2 million (S$2.73 million).

World No. 11 Feng Tianwei was Singapore's only representative last year, and made it all the way to the final, where she lost to Romania's Bernadette Szocs.

Wang Meng Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'T2 aims to sparkle with diamond-tier events'. Print Edition | Subscribe