By 2002, Blackwell had so fallen in love with the sport, he decided that it too was its own business. So he started the table tennis company Killerspin, which he has now built into the largest provider of table tennis broadcast content.
Killerspin has events and players are independent contractors, though the bigger stars are locked into sponsorship contracts with Blackwell to ensure that they’re available when he needs them.
He discovered the much talked about Biba Golic in Croatia in 2002 and signed her to a long-term sponsorship deal.
“I’ve seen 500 guys show up at one of our events just because they wanted to see her in person,” Blackwell said.
While Killerspin event coverage on Fox Sports Net and ESPN has thus far been done in time buys and barter deals, Blackwell says he thinks that there’s potential to command rights fees for table tennis content in the United States as he currently commands with foreign networks. His team is filming next week’s Killerspin SPINvitational Table Tennis Challenge in Chicago, a tournament featuring the world’s top players that will raise money for charity, to one day be able to peddle the evergreen video at a price to the right network.
Don't believe ping pong can be compelling? Check out this rally from a Killerspin event.