Dear Mr. President,
I've been playing table tennis for about forty years and have been a member of the USTTA and USATT on and off for many of those years. During that time, there has been much "talk" about promoting the game and making efforts to increase participation. To date, there have been few, if any successful efforts that met that goal.
This year we were all witness to the Anheuser-Busch-sponsored hardbat tournament. This, by all accounts, was a roaring success bringing out players from the basements, airplane hangers, church rec centers, YMCAs, and yes, bars into an organized national tournament. $100,000 in prize money. From A-B, one of the world's premeir sports sponsors!!
Is there a reason why the ITTF and/or USATT isn't hammering on the doors of A-B looking to partner in future trournaments or events? The current USATT budget is about $1million. That is a very trivial amount relative to the very deep pockets of Anheuser-Busch even after their merger. If A-B even provided a small amount (for them) of say $5 - $6 million, would that make a difference in tournament promotion, TV coverage, tournament draw, new player participation, wider international draw?
And it seems like an easy sell....
An alliance with table tennis would give Anheuser-Busch huge exposure into the China marketplace. The cost to A-B for this exposure would be major sponsorship of the sport, probably a very small amount compared to some other sports sponsorships they provide.
Maybe the USATT could propose U.S. Open sponsorship by A-B with the hardbat division merged with the USATT hardbat competition. This would give A-B the opening to go to network television to cover the competition providing more exposure to the sport.
USATT wins, A-B wins, equipment manufacturers win, clubs win, ITTF wins because they now have major coverage in a market that can be developed. There are no losers.
Perhaps the ITTF could propose similar with the next World Championships or a special challenge event series. A BIG win-win! for both organizations.
Once there is a sponsor like A-B on board, other majors will follow.
So the bottom line is....
Why isn't table tennis trying to develop this kind of alliance with Anheuser-Busch or other large traditional sports sponsors with similar marketing objectives? There are certainly large corporations that would benefit from that kind of exposure, particularly in the China market. The ITTF and USATT need only employ rofessional sports marketing executives to develop these sponsorship alliances (OK, those professionals aren't cheap. So pay them a low salary/retainer with large performance bonuses).
As I said in an earlier thread, Professional Bull Riding gets more attention and spectators than table tennis. Why? Major sport sponsorship providing money for major promotion. (Not many spectators of THAT sport will end up as participants!!) Table tennis has a lot more to offer than Professional Bull Riding.
Kind thanks and appreciation in advance for your consideration.