The ITTF have announced the opening of the bidding process for the 2019 ITTF Challenge Series ©ITTF

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) have announced they have opened the bidding process for the newly-formatted 2019 ITTF Challenge Series.

In 2019, the ITTF Challenge Series will be split into two tiers.

The top tier will contain six ITTF Challenge Plus events which the ITTF say will offer players higher world ranking points, higher prize money and enable them to "reach the next level".

The ITTF have assured potential host cities of the tournaments that they will be provided with "streaming production and commentary support from the ITTF which will assist the ITTF Challenge Plus events to increase visibility and viewership in the coming years".

They also say that, by hosting the events, potential host cities will be gaining experience and exposure for future tournaments.

Steve Dainton was appointed ITTF chief executive last July ©YouTube
Steve Dainton was appointed ITTF chief executive last July ©YouTube

The Challenge Series is a tier below the ITTF's flagship World Tour.

ITTF chief executive Steve Dainton said: "With the new world ranking introduced at the beginning of January, we realised we needed an additional tier of events to give our players more opportunities to improve their world ranking, hence the introduction of the Challenge Plus events.

"Together with our improving marketing efforts with the marketing rights back inside the ITTF, we are able to invest in more events and future assets that can improve the overall table tennis economy."

Cities have until June 15 to submit their bids for the events.