2014 US Open Final Blog
It has been over 2 weeks since the conclusion of the 2014 US Open. I am almost rested enough to reflect on the total project.
Participants - The original goal was to have great participation. By this was meant quality of field & a large draw overall. This goal was reached even though it took the last minute entries to remove the doubt of it succeeding.
Publicity - We worked with a new public relations firm (through West Michigan Sports Commission) this year. Blue Blaze Public Relations got up to speed with table tennis pretty quickly & got the word out to TV, Newspapers & other forms of media to the effect that we had great coverage. Her report of the 20 media occurrences can be found at the bottom of the page. In addition to the media with the event, we teamed with Gilda's Club in GR to stage a match between Judah Friedlander & myself during Laughfest which was very well received especially through social media.
Profit - Even though we are a not for profit entity, we try to have positive revenue over expense to help support the activities of the USA Table Tennis. We reached this goal because of local sponsorships, national sponsorships & the large number of entries. To see the final list of sponsors raised locally go to here. The prize money was increased by $23,000 from 2013 even though we did not receive any stipend from the ITTF as we did in 2012 & 2013. The US Tennis Association runs their US Open & raises enough money to support their entire program for the whole year. We do not currently have 2 elements that they have that being gate receipts & a TV contract.
Presentation - This year we tried to present the matches in a fashion that would give participants a chance to see more action. The idea was to have all matches in the 7 top events played in the arena once they got to the strong part of the draw. The other thing we tried was to have 8 other tables where the other 76 events would finish their matches. This way you could zero in on where the significant matches were being held.
Partnership - This event is a partnership between the USATT, NATT & the LOC. To a great extent we worked together very well. USATT promoted the event from entry blank to the deadline. NATT administered the event with few major hick ups. The LOC did a great job in procuring volunteers & sponsorships. There was a breakdown in the first idea. The men's singles were done according to plan. The women's singles were not. The other 5 main events were mainly conducted on the 8 tables. Because of this, there were still times where there were gaps in the arena. In the Mixed Doubles, the one event where the sponsor of the event came to present the trophy, the match was played outside of the arena on table 7. Since this was a new idea, we should applaud the attempt. I hope that it will become the norm & we will get better at carrying it out.
Problems - The biggest problem that I can see was the draws. The best that I can tell the draw was put together using the world rankings as the chief factor. While other factors were not ignored, they were not given enough weight. The result was that some very good players were eliminated in the qualifying round of the Men's singles & some highly seeded players were eliminated in early rounds. Additional factors could have been incorporated into the draw. USATT ratings, former world rankings & country of participant (some Chinese & Japanese were unseeded). One example is Kanak Jha who was seeded but eliminated in the first round of the Men's Singles by a player with a USATT rating of 2748. I wanted to get to watch Kanak more since he had just come off the North American Cup victory.
Promise - The tourney shows promise. With more prize money & additional improvements, the US Open can become what it should be. Hope to see you next year in Vegas.
MEDIA COVERAGE SUMMARY
July 5, 2014, updated July 6
By Zach Kukkonen The Grand Rapids Press
MLive The Grand Rapids Press
July 5, 2014, updated July 6, 2014 at 12:11 AM
By Kelly Hill
WZZM Channel 13
July 4 and 5, 2014
By Aaron Ofseyer
July 4, 2014
By Cory Olsen
July 3, 2014
By Steve Kaminski
July 2, 2014
WZZM – Channel 13
July 2, 2014Biggest table tennis tourney, youngest players in Grand Rapids this week
July 2, 2014
By Mackenzie StephensGrand Rapids interested in hosting future U.S Open Table Tennis Championship
July 1, 2014
By Pete WallnerTable tennis US Open serves downtown
Grand Rapids Business Journal
July 1, 2014
By Pat EvansPhotos: USA Table Tennis U.S. Open
July 1, 2014US Open Table Tennis 2014 Day 1
Grand Rapids Press – MLive - Photos
July 1, 2014U.S. Open Table Tennis Championship set to begin in Grand Rapids
June 30, 2014
By Pete WallnerSetup begins for the 2014 US Open Table Tennis Championships
June 30, 2014The largest international table tennis competition comes to G.R.
June 30, 2014
Sports Overtime with Larry Figurski
June 29, 2014 Plus various clips NEWSTALK 1340 WJRW
June 26 - 30, 2014
Fox 17 News at 5 p.m., News at 6 p.m. FOX 17 WXMI
June 25, 2014
Ping Pong Is Taking Over Grand Rapids!
FOX 17 WXMI
June 24, 2014
'Ping Pong Summer' movie to help kick off upcoming U.S. Open in Grand Rapids
June 23, 2014
By Pete Wallner