West backs Hearn’s new era

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Tony West has given Barry Hearn his full backing as the renowned sports promoter turns his attention to the unlikely world of Table Tennis.

Last weekend’s World Championship action heralded a new era for the sport, as Hearn returned to Alexandra Palace just days after the conclusion of the PDC World Darts Championship, another of his successfully-transformed sporting platforms.

His vision is to transport the game back to the old style ‘ping pong’ game, using hardbats with a sandpaper-like surface, creating less spin and speed and therefore a slower, easier to watch sport, but with all the glitz and glamour accustomed to the modern darts world, a far cry from the action witnessed at this Summer’s London Olympic Games.

But while some cynics may not favour Hearn’s “rock ‘n’ roll” brand of entertainment, West, who experienced the new format first hand, believes the move will help reach out to the targeted potential global TV audience of 700 million.

“I can only see things getting better with higher standards developing all the time,” he said. “It is the second most played sport in the world yet it is overlooked massively in this country.

“This format can change that, I strongly believe that.

“I believe it will get to the level where darts is now. The atmosphere was amazing, it was absolutely beyond belief.”