As of September: Separate professional league for the USA
The cities in which the eight teams are located have not yet been revealed (©Instagram/MLTT)
July 6, 2023 – The USA ranks highly in many sports. In table tennis, the United States has lagged behind for a long time. This is also reflected in the fact that the country has not had a professional league yet. That will change in September: then the Major League Table Tennis competitions will begin – with an innovative playing system and American and international players.
Whether it's Germany, France, Sweden, Japan or China: professional table tennis leagues are unusual in countries where table tennis has a certain status. In the United States of America, the search for a professional table tennis league has been in vain so far. But this will change in a few weeks. From September, the USA will have its first professional league – preparations for the start of the season are already well underway.
Prize money of $100,000
The initiator and founder of the Major League of Table Tennis is businessman Flint Lane, who has a heart for table tennis and owns two clubs with his wife. “Our goal is to promote the fastest, most intense sport in America,” the CEO was quoted as saying on the MLTT website. “The Major League of Table Tennis combines my passion for building businesses and table tennis and we are committed to building this league so that everyone can have a good time, whether participants, spectators or just fans of action-packed entertainment.” Eight teams spread across the country, divided into an East and West relay, which initially play indoor season matches from September to March. The four relay teams meet on different weekends and play against each other from Friday to Sunday. At the end of this league stage, the top two teams from each season will play against each other in the Final 4 tournament in April and compete for the title and the overall prize money of $100,000.
The teams consist of national and international players. As is common practice in American professional leagues, players are allocated in a draft at the end of August. According to MLTT, more than 180 players from 40 countries applied for this award. The association has already posted a few of them on its social media channels. We will once again see former Swedish international Matilda Ekholm, who has been living in the United States for several years, and Ukrainian Lee Ko, Marc Duran from Spain, and Frenchman Enzo Angels will also be available for selection in the draft.
Unusual game mode
When it comes to the game mode, the Americans have come up with something of their own. A meeting between two teams consists of six matches in total. First, four singles matches are played, then a doubles match – however, these matches consist of only three sets, which are attributed to the teams in the overall standings. In the decisive “Golden Game”, five players from one team must be used, and they must take turns every four points until one team obtains 21 points. In this “golden game” six points can be obtained for the overall ranking. The team that scores at least eleven points wins. It will be interesting to see if the league is able to convince American sports fans of themselves and the sport of table tennis.
“Internet nerd. Avid student. Zombie guru. Tv enthusiast. Coffee advocate. Social media expert. Music geek. Professional food maven. Thinker. Troublemaker.”