New York (HedgeCo.net) – The emergence of upscale table-tennis clubs is spawning a ping pong renaissance, according to a Bloomberg editorial. Last month, SPiN New York hosted the “Clash Of The Hedge Fund Titans” ping pong tournament, in which hedge fund managers competed against one another for the #1 spot.
Susan Sarandon’s chichi table tennis franchise has locations in New York, Milwaukee, and Toronto. Warren Buffett lost 2-1 to 15-year-old U.S. champ Ariel Hsing last year, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also joined in on the action, according to Bloomberg.
The hedge fund “Clash” was a philanthropic event benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, The Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research, and Robin Hood that fights poverty in NYC. The event was sponsored by Toro Trading, MiK Fund Solutions, Novus, Knight, John Allan’s, Direxion Shares, Classic Car Club, and SPiN New York.
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) estimates there are 19.5 million recreational players in the U.S., a 53% increase over the past decade, Bloomberg reports. A 2009 poll by SGMA shows that more than half the players have annual incomes exceeding $75,000. As a result, the sport is going corporate.
In a move to forge unexpected connections, a New York-based charity tournament, Top Spin, is planning events in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, aiming to attract 2,000 players, even promising Olympian walk ons.
“It’s like a real-life version of LinkedIn,” says founder Peter Farnsworth, in the Bloomberg article. “We’re bringing the business community together through ping pong.”
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