Red Solo cups and ping pong balls have taken on their own definition at GW and nearly every other college setting, so when a pyramid formation of plastic cups align on a makeshift table it can only mean one thing: beer pong.
With an elegant flick of the wrist – becoming less graceful with each moment of decreasing sobriety – players arc ping pong balls across the table at the opposing team’s beer cups.
Entrepreneurs are hoping to cash in on the drinking game with Web sites that sell beer pong accessories. But for demographic that is not known for their loose wallets, merchandisers may find themselves up against a wall.
Joe Colasuonno, 22, is one of those students. He is getting biomedical science degree, but in between classes he manages a business geared at students who play beer pong. His creation is PongUniversity.com – one of the Web sites that sell beer pong accessories – including customizable ping-pong balls and tables.
Freshman Max Bog said he takes beer pong very seriously and thinks of it as a sport.
“I like beer pong because it’s simple. You just need balls and cups,” Borg said. “I might buy the (accessories) as a gift for someone, though.”
Colasuonno said he got the idea from playing beer pong at Boston College.
According to a recent survey that Colasuonno paid Facebook to conduct for PongUniversity, 83 percent of the nearly 1,000 male participants ages 18 to 24 had played beer pong in the past month. This figure, Colasuonno believes, is “a market indicator” in terms of students who will want to buy personalized beer pong products.
Junior Michael Kandel said he thinks Colasuonna is on the mark. “At college in general, beer pong is huge,” he said.
And it’s not just guys who are into the drinking game. Sophomore Melissa Kramer attests to the fact that girls are fans too.
“I used to play almost every weekend my freshman year,” Kramer said. “Now, I play about once a month.”
PongUniversity comes off as a sort of one-stop shop for beer pong junkies. Colasuonno understands the demand for cheap prices and said he acquires his merchandise at wholesale so he can keep his prices lower when customers buy in bulk. Plain balls can be purchased for 14 cents each and the site’s novelty item -customized balls that can be personalized with logos or full-color pictures – start at 89 cents.
“I know a lot of people who make their own beer pong tables,” Kramer said. “If the customized stuff isn’t too expensive, people might be willing to order them.”
Another beer pong accessory Web site, Bingbongtables.com has sold over 10,000 beer pong tables in the past three years, according to a press release. Bingbongtables.com specializes in customized tables that can fold up for optimal travel use.
With an average of two orders a day and 300 Web hits, Colasuonno said he thinks he’s onto something and is looking to expand his products to include personalized cups.
“Right now, it’s a marketing game,” Colasuonno said. “It’s just a matter of getting the message out there.”