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PostPosted: 13 Jan 2013, 18:08 
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http://www.scmp.com/sport/other-sport/a ... -ping-pong

Excerpts:

Syed declared ping pong offered "a better narrative in the rallies" and was more "democratic and universal than table tennis" because the equipment is cheaper.
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Hearn is back in his high-octane ping pong zone. "The crowd got really involved. They were so enthusiastic and the play got better and better. It was enthralling television and the ratings which came in on Monday were three times what I expected," he gushes.
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Hearn now plans to construct a global qualifying infrastructure, starting in the Philippines, and then replicate the model as a franchise. "I am looking at the figures and I am now thinking I can establish this quite quickly and get global partners to take over different territories to build this into a really major event. The response I have had from TV companies and sponsors has been brilliant," says Hearn.
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"Table tennis is dead as a TV sport," Hearn declares, now in bullish mood. "The cameras are up too close to the players and it's too spin-orientated. It's not a thing of beauty to watch. It's hard as a spectator to become enthusiastic and want to play.
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You can hear in your mind's ear the board of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) - "the blazers" as Hearn calls them - cough disapproval and disagreement while fiddling nervously with the brass buttons on their cuffs.

"I have not had any dealings with the ITTF. I don't find any reason to. I am very happy to talk to them and tell them my plans. But I don't think it cuts across what they are doing. You can't doubt the hard facts. They have got nowhere with their sport in terms of commercial exploitation. It's a game that is already played by 300 million people worldwide and yet there is virtually no major television event out there to garner further interest," he says.

"We are not trying to upset anyone. We are just trying to spread the word. This is not an exercise in thumbing our noses at the ITTF. I own the Ping Pong World Championships and that has been conceded by the ITTF. I am hoping they will not be obstructive. I think they should take in the big picture and see ping pong gets more people playing a form of table tennis."
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Requests for the ITTF to comment on Hearn's ping pong crusade went unanswered.
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Hearn admits that to give the game a killer serve to the world it needs the best players and by that he means the Chinese masters. Ten of the top 20 players in the ITTF world rankings are Chinese, including Hong Kong's world number 14 Jiang Tianyi.

"I know that China is crucial to ping pong's success. I am talking to CCTV and I have a great relationship thanks to snooker," he says.
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"If I can secure CCTV coverage I think the Chinese will get into it. It is a sport that can be extended into schools and neighbourhoods without having to go down the more expensive sponge-bat route which cost a small fortune," he adds.

"You're not going to get kids to pick up the game if it is not aspirational. So I need to get my tournament up to US$1 million prize money as quickly as possible. And then we will blow the whole table tennis world up with a bang."

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PostPosted: 13 Jan 2013, 19:55 
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Awesome indeed! That's the sort of guy we need to take TT back to centre stage! :up: :up: :up:

Perhaps we should try and contact him... see if we can help?

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