WTT lands TV Tokyo as first broadcast partner in IMG-brokered deal
TV Tokyo, the Japanese free-to-air and satellite television broadcaster, has today agreed a media rights deal with World Table Tennis, the new commercial vehicle of the International Table Tennis Federation, running to the end of 2024.
Under the three-year deal, TV Tokyo becomes WTT’s first broadcast partner and will provide extensive coverage of its competitions from the new Grand Smash events to the World Youth Championships.
The agreement was brokered by IMG, the international sports marketing agency, which distributes WTT’s global broadcast rights as part of a 15-year deal signed last year.
Japan is a key market for the ITTF and its tour features several homegrown players including current world number two Mima Ito and 17-year-old world number four Tomokazu Harimoto.
TV Tokyo has a long history of broadcasting global table tennis events, dating back to the 2005 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships.
The broadcaster was also among a host of networks which secured rights to a new showcase event in Macau last November.
Steve Dainton, ITTF chief executive and WTT director, said today:
“We are delighted to welcome TV Tokyo as WTT’s first television broadcast
partner. TV Tokyo has been a strong, long-term broadcast partner and we value
their loyalty. Through this partnership, we are pleased to provide our Japanese
fans the opportunity to watch table tennis of the highest standards as well as
catch their favourite local heroes compete against the best in the world.”
Ichiro Ishikawa, president of TV Tokyo Corporation, added: “We are very delighted and excited about being able to continue our relationship with WTT. With the World Championships and new WTT events, we continue to strive to provide the best actions of Japanese players as well as the players across the world to the fans in Japan.”
IMG’s long-term strategic partnership with WTT covers exclusive global media rights development and distribution, production oversight of WTT events and betting data and streaming rights for its IMG Arena business. In addition, IMG has a non-exclusive sponsorship representation role and assists with the procurement of host cities for WTT events.
The 2021 WTT season got underway last month with two events - WTT Contender and WTT Start Contender - at a Middle East Hub in Doha, Qatar.
Last July, the ITTF announced that, from 2021, there would be a new-look table tennis calendar with an annual series of Grand Smashes, WTT Cup Finals, WTT Champions Series and WTT Contenders Series.
However, due to the restrictions related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the governing body subsequently moved to stage the first half of the revamped 2021 calendar in three separate hubs in the Middle East, China, and Europe.
The four Grand Smash events will be at the pinnacle of the sport, and take place over 10 days, with the top 64 men and top 64 women competing for $3 million in prize money.
It is intended that the Grand Smashes will be to table tennis what the majors are to golf and the grand slams to tennis, namely permanent homes that will act as pillars of the table tennis calendar.