Beer Pong finally gets the NYT treatment it deserves.
Urban Outfitters stocks a popular beer pong kit called Bombed and boxed sets of rules for other games. In January, thousands of players are expected at the first World Series of Beer Pong, sponsored by a beer pong accessories company and held on the outskirts of - where else? - Las Vegas.
This past summer, Anheuser-Busch unveiled a game it calls Bud Pong. The company, which makes Budweiser, is promoting Bud Pong tournaments and providing Bud Pong tables, balls and glasses to distributors in 47 markets, including college towns like Oswego, N.Y., and Clemson, S.C.
Bud Pong may soon expand into more markets, said Francine Katz, a spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc.
"It's catching on like wildfire," Ms. Katz said. "We created it as an icebreaker for young adults to meet each other."
I couldn't agree more, although this type of commercialization may be inevitable in the drive to make the sport Olympic-eligible. The Times also seems concerned about the fact that the sport promotes binge drinking and underage drinking. A Bud representative puts us at ease:
Excuse me? Water? She probably likes the DH rule too. And instant replay. And those stupid, oversized, red, wiffle ball bats. Aside from instantly turning beer pong into a crappy game, taking out the beer also removes the game's educational value.
Beer companies like Anheuser-Busch have made promoting "responsible drinking" a matter of corporate philosophy, partly as an answer to criticism that they market to youth.
But Ms. Katz said Bud Pong was not intended for underage drinkers because promotions were held in bars, not on campuses. And it does not promote binge drinking, she said, because official rules call for water to be used, not beer. The hope is that those on the sidelines enjoy a Bud.
A tip o' the cap to Christine Hurt, who takes Bud to task for their silly, completely unbelievable, corporate hypocrisy. I would add, however, that it is unlikely that beer pong increases underage drinking, as, in my experience, underage drinkers don't need much of an excuse to drink, just access. It definitely promotes binge drinking though. At least, if you're any good.