The World Curling Tour (WCT) and Curling Champions Tour (CCT) have announced a formal merger, creating a truly global tour of some 170 championship curling events.
Based in North America since 1992, the WCT has long been the ultimate competition circuit for all high-performance curling teams. Founded in 2005, the Europe-based CCT has grown rapidly and now boasts all the trademarks of traditional WCT events, attracting larger sponsors and delivering professional webstreamed or televised coverage.
Both tours have also recently expanded into the Pacific region, with high-powered curling championships now hosted in China, Korea and Japan.
“This is a great day for the Roaring Game,” said the WCT’s Gerry Geurts from London, Ontario, Canada. “As we begin another Olympic curling season, the official merger of the WCT and CCT into one organization clearly proves, once again, that curling is one of the fastest-growing winter sports in the world.”
“From the beginning, the CCT and WCT have worked closely together,” said CCT’s Armin Harder from Zurich, Switzerland. “CCT events have been incorporated and counted on the Order Of Merit points list. And the CCT’s beginnings have been largely based on the same ideas and principles as that of its close relative tour in North America.
“To the fans it has always seemed like one Tour, but in terms of operations they have been quite different. CCT has found it necessary to take a new business approach in order to face the challenges of forging into new curling markets. Today both organizations officially share that vision, and curling fans will benefit most.”
The combined Tour will bear the name of the World Curling Tour and feature new branding reminiscent of the Curling Champions Tour. A new website at the URL will be launched shortly.
The World Curling Tour events will now be divided into two categories, a “WCT Masters Series” and a “WCT Challenger Series.” On top of that a “Champions Series” aka “Majors” will be created over the next few years, outside of Canada, to complement the popular Grand Slam of Curling series.
In the past two seasons a CCT World Mixed Doubles Tour has experienced explosive growth and popularity. Now poised to lead the development of more Mixed Doubles events in North America and Asia, the new World Curling Tour can better manage the fastest growing segment of the sport.
Mixed Doubles will make its Olympic debut as a full-medal sport at February’s 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea.
Additional growth is planned for the Asia-Pacific Curling Tour, an expected World Junior Curling Tour and even a global Tour for Wheelchair Curling, an official Paralympic Games medal sport at Korea next year.
“The World Curling Tour now counts some 250 champion events taking place in 2017-18,” said Geurts. “We will work to increase the amount of streaming and TV coverage worldwide to showcase the Tour and its increasing number of events.”
“We will also continue expanding into new regions in hopes of developing new young teams, and providing them with a place to enjoy the sport and hone their skills,” said Harder. “These new athletes will be the engine for the future growth of our sport.”