WEST VALLEY CITY — Golfing may be the go-to sport for businessmen looking to network, but local businesses are turning to a ping pong table instead.
At many Utah companies, there's a ping pong table in the break room that employees use during their downtime. However, the Table Tennis Training and Event Center in West Valley is organizing company games where people across the state can compete and network at the same time.
"There are so many people that enjoy playing table tennis (because) it, kind of, creates a bit of a bond or a bit of a friendship," said Ronald Mills, founder of the center.
There are so many people that enjoy playing table tennis (because) it, kind of, creates a bit of a bond or a bit of a friendship.
–Ronald Mills, founder of Table Tennis Training and Event Center
Social table tennis popularity has been on a steady rise for the past few years. In 2008, the New York Times published a feature on the sport, predicting it would continue to grow.
"It's the sport of the future," said filmmaker Jonathon Bricklin in the article. "It's so simple that there's no barrier to entry. And it has a carnival game-esque mind trick that makes you think that you could win at any possible moment."
It's that easy and fun competitiveness that draws people of all levels to the sports, including those in suits and ties. Mills said he hopes to have roughly 50 businesses sign up to play at the center, and so far about 25 businesses have expressed an interest in signing up. But it's not just for pros — there's something for everyone.
"You do not have to be at a high level of expertise," he said. "You don't have to have a certain physique."
Mills said local law firms, finance companies and some energy companies are ready to play. After the program is launched, business owners will have the contact information of the other companies involved and they can arrange a time to face-off.
"This isn't about winning, per se," Mills said. "It's about making friends, getting some exercise and promoting their business, a bit."
The center also has open play hours for members and nonmembers of the facility. For more information about the center, visit tabletenniseventcenter.com.