Add the NFL to the list of retailers getting into the sale of beer pong tables. You read that right. The National Football League is selling beer pong tables on its official merchandising website, NFLShop.com. This seems rather odd that an organization that bludgeoned NFL fans over the head with the new Fan Code of Conduct would sell and profit from merchandise designed to encourage binge drinking.
The NFL rolled out the Fan Code of Conduct to “help promote a positive fan environment at NFL stadiums”. Many NFL fans, especially long time tailgaters, took this new policy to be aimed directly at them in relation to alcohol consumption. HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumble did a piece in January 2008 that focused on the Dark Side of Tailgating. That segment did not feature the NFL and its tailgaters in a positive light. Many believe that the new Fan Code of Conduct was in direct reaction to that HBO segment. The second bullet point of this conduct policy says, fans are required to refrain from the following behaviors including “intoxication or other signs of alcohol impairment that results in irresponsible behavior”. If the NFL is so concerned with binge drinking and the irresponsible behavior that results from it, why are they selling beer pong tables on their official marketplace, NFLShop.com? Because they are selling them for $129.99 per table, that’s why.
I first discovered that the NFL was selling beer pong tables last week. I was able to find the tables by doing a simple search on NFLShop.com using the terms “Tailgating Pong”. Since my discovery, apparently the word got upstairs that these items should be not marketed as “pong tables” but rather as “Tailgating Tables”. You can still find them by using the search box and typing in “tables” and a list of all 32 NFL franchise tables appear. If you click on the “tailgating” tab, the first thing that appears in the featured product section are these “tailgating tables”. Take a look for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Are these tailgating tables or beer pong tables?
NFLShop.com Tailgating Table
Pro Pong Gridiron Themed Beer Pong Table
They look strikingly similar don’t they? Did you notice that the NFL cleverly includes a ping pong net with the table? Is anyone buying the idea anyone will be using paddles to play on these things? The product page for all these “tailgating tables” describes the tables’ measurements as 8′ x 2′. Those are the exact dimensions of an official beer pong table. That must purely be a coincidence.
Let’s check the official measurements of both types of tables from the World Series of Beer Pong (WSoBP) and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). These are the top two widely recognized sanctioning bodies for their respective sports. (Yes, beer pong is a sport. It is just not on ESPN yet.)
Beer pong tables to be used in the World Series of Beer Pong are to be 8′ x 2′ as per the Official Rules of the World Series of Beer Pong. The ITTF sanctioned tables sizes measure 2.74 meters (8.98 feet) long by 1.525 meters (5.00 feet) wide. It doesn’t take a perfect score on the NFL Wonderlic Test to figure out that the NFL “tailgating table” is exactly the same dimensions of a beer pong table. So why would a table marketed as a table tennis table be half as wide and about a foot shorter?
These tables are made and branded by Wild Sales, makers of Tailgate Toss, which is like cornhole but does not use official cornhole board specifications. (Tailgate Toss game boards are slightly larger.) Wild Sales and their Tailgate Toss brand already has a licensing deal with the NFL so this marriage was an easy fit. We all know that the NFL does not allow its logo or the logo of its 32 franchise teams to be slapped on ANY product unless it is approved by someone in the league. (Oh yeah, and that approval comes with a hefty licensing fee too.) So somewhere down the line during the approval process someone in the NFL signed off on these 8′ x 2′ “tailgating tables” being mass produced.
You mean to tell me that nobody in the NFL Offices thought these tables looked suspiciously similar to beer pong tables? If ignorance of the similarities is what the NFL claims then they have a bigger problem on their hands. Obviously that person is so out of touch with what is going on in NFL stadium parking lots that they are grossly unqualified to do their job. I highly doubt that.
Clearly the NFL is trying to profit off of binge drinking and the growing popularity of beer pong in the tailgating parking lots. I have no issue with a company, large or small, trying to capitalize on an emerging market and trend. I do have an issue when a company tries to covertly market the product when it is clearly in direct conflict with their strict fan code of conduct. A bit hypocritical, no?
I am sure when the NFL suits read this post they will swear up and down that this table was never meant to be used for a binge drinking game or beer pong. If you buy that excuse then you might be interested in a bridge I am selling on craigslist. (Cash only please.)
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