Disappointing feelings after WTT Champions Macao. Does WTT really want a global game?

Wang Chuqin had a great run, beating his renowned teammates from the China team, but WTT once again disappoints with its attitude toward the audience.

The major table tennis tournaments rarely disappoint the fans due to the high level of the players and their ability to bring us a variety of exciting rallies. When you have names, such as Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Truls Möregårdh, and others in the bracket, the display of creativity is guaranteed. But that’s not the point of this article.

World Table Tennis seems to have zero concerns about the increase in popularity of table tennis. It’s enough to have a little rebranding, changing the courts and colors of tables to clap themselves on the shoulder and say: “Well done!” Because surely, if you will ask 100 random people on the street, they all will name Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, or any other table tennis player as their favorite sports celebrity, right? Outside of China, how much you would bet on this to be true? Without turning too sarcastic, it looks like WTT lives in an isolated bubble where table tennis is the sport everyone loves by default.

WTT Champions Macao once again proved that table tennis as a sport is going nowhere with WTT unless the major tournaments become more accessible. Where was the live-action on YouTube or for the least, on the WTT website? Highlights or full-match uploads are a nice thing to see, but having a chance to watch all the decisive games live is a completely different vibe. And even when there were those live streams available during other tournaments, those were often unwatchable due to the slow and laggy website the WTT has (which is also a disgrace, we’re living in 2022, come on).

WTT is trying to give the impression that just because there was a rebranding, now table tennis suddenly should be interesting for the masses. But where are the actual effort and results? We live in an internet era, young people consume it 24/7, and the best way to promote the sport is to share all the exciting action with the masses. Having a few extra TV deals can give a short-term impact, but the popularity of table tennis will remain at the same level. It will retain a local phenom status in countries like China, no doubt. But WTT translates as World Table Tennis, not China Table Tennis. Their market can live on its own terms without the leadership of any outside organizations.

There has been plenty of criticism from internet users during the live streams on YouTube and the WTT website about the quality, mistakes in scoreboards, and bad camera angles. Players, like Ibrahima Diaw, have also publicly shared some criticism about the conditions WTT provides to its players. There is more to tell about this topic, but that is worthy of another article or research video.

If you think that criticism toward WTT is unfair or exaggerated, here’s a quick and telling (in a bad way) fact. If the WTT website gets less than 1 million visits a month, and a local, German website mytischtennis.de can get up to 2-5 times more traffic monthly, there is something completely wrong with the way WTT and its team do their work. The global website should be getting millions of views every month with ease.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely to see any changes in the WTT approach. Unless the star players are going to have their discontent and criticism toward this organization. Theoretically, European players might voice their opinions at some point, but the Chinese players will definitely have no say. It’s no secret that China has a strict hierarchy, and politics have a lot to do with the sports there. Unless WTT goes against Chinese interests and makes them angry, the buzz and criticism will only appear in social media posts, comments, and occasional posts, like this one.

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