Plans are well under way for the US Open to be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan on July 1-5, 2014. Our first meeting was back in August and have been held monthly since then. Our approach has been to look to the past 2 Opens in Grand Rapids and to build on the successes and make adjustments for any shortfalls.
We have zeroed in on some key words to describe our goals & aspirations for this year's Open. Participation, Prestige, Presentation, Prizes, Promotion, Pleasure and Profit are all expression for our passion.
Participation can be view from the number of players only. We are thinking more in line with coaches, parents as well as local volunteers and spectators. We are also hoping to attract a broader base of top international players by actively inviting them to the Open.
Prestige envelopes the thought of raising the image of the Open to our constituents. We could see the upward level that the ITTF Challenge added to the Open in 2013. We would like to add to this improvement until we are a top level ITTF event.
Presentation speaks to the placement and timing of the matches as they progress through the myriad of events that make up the Open. We have come up with some changes in the design of the layout and schedule to better enable the matches to get their proper due. By making these changes it will enable the umpires, other players and spectators to better see what is going on with the 100 table setup.
Prizes are a hot topic. We have taken the diverse opinions on the subject and come up with some unique outcomes. The top events (big 7) will get the bulk of the prize money since this is how major events are measured. We are working on other suggestions to come up with some unique prizes for the other events to replace the trophies given in the past.
Promotion can always be improved upon. In Grand Rapids we already have the print, electronic, radio and television coverage. The event is well respected in town. We will build on this to get more coverage ahead of the event as much as possible. One example is the State Championships being held at DeVos Place in conjunction with the Meijer State Games on June 20-22.
Pleasure and Profit are not always at the top of our thought. They are even being combined at the bottom of this blog. We are making plans to allow for activity choices other that just the Open for the participants. There are many things to do throughout our community. We will be speaking to these in the blogs to follow. Profit from the event is necessary to support the ongoing work of USATT. Currently, the major events are the main source of funding.
Suggestions to any of these points are always wanted. We have 26 weeks till the Open. Yikes!!