Dec 22, 2021 - Sports

Ping pong could be the next pickleball

Two men playing ping-pond at an indoor studio called Pingpod.
A Pingpod studio in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios

We've had laser tag studios, indoor golf and even indoor skydiving, and now a ping-pong pro wants to bring his favorite sport to a corner near you.

What's happening: A team of entrepreneurs, including a table tennis phenom from the Philippines, has started up Pingpod, which operates two indoor studios in New York City (with more coming soon, including one in Philadelphia).

  • People can play ping-pong on demand 24/7 at its studios, and book tables online.
  • "We call it an autonomous concept: There are no employees working here onsite, so you make a reservation, you show up, you play, you walk out, and we have a great security system to make sure everyone is following protocol and keeping the place safe," David Silberman, one of the business partners, told NY1.
  • Another partner is Ernesto Ebuen, a six-time Philippine national table tennis champion.

Details: Not only can players find partners online through the "Pingpod community," they can also play against a paddle-wielding robot.

  • "If everyone in New York has a place to play within 20 blocks of them, I think that a lot more people will play a lot more regularly," NY1 quotes Silberman as saying.

My thought bubble: With pickleball now a national phenomenon, could ping-pong be next?

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