Sport marketing for Table Tennis in the USA

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Joined: 07/19/2014

When I was a youngster, around 12 or thirteen, I discovered Tennis. When I got to High School I was very happy to find that Tennis was one of the Varsity sports that was available in the NYC Public School system. I was a small but very athletic boy. I was too small for Basketball and Football and uninterested in Soccer, in spite of my South American background. The time was 1972 and Tennis was gaining traction with the masses. It’s popularity skyrocketed with the advent of Cable TV. It seemed that almost overnight the average “beer drinking, screaming fans” from other sports like baseball and football were filling Tennis stadiums. Prize money became huge and the game changed in favor of “true Athletes” (Athletes that could be Basketball players or Football players at a professional level)  Of course at 5’6”, 135lbs it was very difficult to compete for me and eventually I found comfort in coaching youngsters that loved Tennis in the same manner that I did. My coaching has spanned over 20 years and I have wonderful memories of coaching some wonderful kids and seeing them go to College on Full scholarships and some even have become successful tennis pros.

            My story is not unique and it is not relegated to only to Tennis. It is a story that repeats with many other sports. Now that I have discovered Table Tennis I feel a little resentment that in the American Sports consciousness radar Table Tennis does not even cause a faint “blip”. I have been learning about the reasons for TT being left behind in a world where there are more cable channels that you can imagine.  It seems that there is a channel for everything you can imagin. There are things on Cable that I find ludicrous. Never the less the advertisers are happy to reap the benefits of the mass appeal. Surely the USATT and the powers that be in the US can figure out a may to market TT so as to make it appealing to the masses. Pro Wrestling has done this successfully, why not Table Tennis? 


Luis Checa

ITTF Level 1 Coach NYC

Luis Checa

ITTF Level 1 Coach

Joined: 01/12/2013
Re: Sport marketing for Table Tennis in the USA
TV is not needed to promote the sport. All the table tennis you would want to watch is available on the internet. The ITTF makes almost all tournaments available. They stream live and then archive.  Many equipment vendors post tournament videos. Even USATT will occasionally post a link to a tournament video.
I believe most sports viewers watch a sporting event because they can relate to the sport, having played it as a kid. Many continuing to play as adults. They have an understanding of the game and often fantisize how they would have played the point.
The availability of tennis in high school gave you the opportunity to sample that sport. When table tennis becomes available for students to sample, as it is in European nations, then we may see the number of people interested in playing the sport increase. Some may even want to watch the sport. Prize money might increase as viewership, or should I say, hits and likes increase.
Larry Hodges
Larry Hodges's picture
Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Sport marketing for Table Tennis in the USA

One of the major reasons table tennis isn't on TV much in the U.S. is there's nobody actively pushing for this to happen, or trying to create an attractive package for the TV people. USATT is an amateur organization, and doesn't have anyone devoted to this. So it's unlikely table tennis will get much TV exposure in the U.S. until the same thing that happened in other TV sports happens to table tennis - the top players get together and form a professional organization. Their top priority would be to bring money to the sport via sponsors, and to do that they need to get on TV - and so getting on TV becomes their top priority. They'd hire an executive director who would work to get the sport on TV so that he can bring in sponsors. But until this happens, table tennis is unlikely to be on TV much in this country. (This might be a good blog topic.)