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International Expansion – PingPod is Opening in England

PingPod is opening its second international location, in Bristol, England, in collaboration with Table Tennis Daily (TTD). PingPod and TTD are working together to convert TTD’s existing headquarters into a PingPod. The converted space will continue to be home to TTD and serve as the backdrop for their brilliant table tennis content, while also functioning as a full-fledged PingPod offering the Bristol table tennis community a best-in-class venue with 24/7 reservations, coaching, community events, and league play. We hope to be open in Bristol in Q2. 

The Backstory

Max, Ernesto and I founded PingPod in 2019. I had been playing ping pong since the age of five, and always considered it one of my great passions, but I was by no means a serious or competitive player. Like most people in the U.S., I had little awareness of what table tennis has to offer.

As I dove into the world of table tennis, I started learning the names of people and organizations who are leaders of the sport: Kanak Jha, Adam Bobrow, Lily Zhang, Joola, …TableTennisDaily. TTD is immediately recognizable – a group of affable table tennis players based in the UK who make some of the best table tennis content out there. I became a subscriber to their YouTube channel and couldn’t get enough of their professionally curated videos featuring high quality and informative content laced with humor and personality. For me, and more than 300,000 other subscribers, TTD are an approachable guide to table tennis. 

In early 2022, I was delighted to receive an email from Dan Ives, the founder of TTD. That email marked the start of a partnership between PingPod and TTD and a personal friendship between Dan and me. 

In September 2022, PingPod hosted the TTD team, Dan (aka Founder), Tom (aka Frog), Louis (aka Beast), and Joe (aka Pivot) in New York City to tour our Pods and shoot some collaborative content. It became obvious during that collaboration  that the TTD and PingPod teams are cut from the same cloth – resourceful, driven teams on a mission to elevate the sport of table tennis. Check out this video as an example of what they shot over here.

A Shared Mission

PingPod and TTD have a shared mission: to grow and popularize the sport of table tennis around the world, and correct some of the misperceptions about the sport. However, we are attacking this mission from different and complementary angles: PingPod from the “bottom up” and TTD from the “top down”. 

One of the reasons soccer is the most popular sport in the world is because all it takes is a ball and some open space – accessibility is very high. At the core of PingPod’s mission is making ping pong highly accessible. We enable our customers to play where they want, whenever they want. PingPod is growing the sport from the bottom up by building a network of dozens of ping pong locations starting in urban and suburban environments, making ping pong accessible to a far greater number of people than ever before. PingPods are an extension of people’s homes and allow friends, family, colleagues, and children to easily participate in the sport. 

PingPod has grown to nine locations throughout four states since launching in 2019, with numerous more locations in the pipeline. PingPod has garnered over 37,000 sign-ups and over 150,000 hours of ping pong played. We are proliferating the sport of table tennis from the ground up, literally. In doing so, we are helping people use their phones to put down their phones and creating safe spaces for people to simply enjoy themselves.

Table Tennis Daily, on the other hand, takes a more digital approach to attracting new people to the sport. That is not to say they work any less hard than we do. In fact, during their New York City visit we saw first hand how much hard work goes into capturing the content that makes up their prolific video output. And the production itself is just the start; then comes months of editing and fine-tuning the videos in the effort to create the best possible product. 

Table Tennis Daily creates content that people love. They have amassed a following of over 300,000 subscribers on YouTube, along with formidable followings on other social platforms such as Instagram. Table Tennis Daily makes professionally crafted stories about ping pong that showcase the fun, excitement, skill, and joy that comes with playing ping pong.   

Why this Collaboration makes so much sense

PingPod receives a steady drumbeat of interest from ping pong enthusiasts around the world who want to see a PingPod open in their home city or town. Our long-term vision is to build a global network, with Pods in all major cities, partnering with local operators when it makes sense. But we will not sacrifice quality for speed. We will be very selective about who we partner with, ensuring that the PingPod brand is in the hands of trusted people who share our mission. The important qualities we look for in international partners, and the ones we believe TTD exemplifies are:

  • Mission-Driven. TableTennisDaily is an online community where you can connect and share with table tennis enthusiasts from all over the world. Its tagline is “Where Table Tennis meets Passion.” TTD is a standard bearer for popularizing and elevating the sport of table tennis around the world. 
  • Trusted. The TTD brand is synonymous with the sport of table tennis. As I mentioned earlier, when I began my table tennis journey they were one of my guides. And we have built a trusted relationship between the two firms through close collaboration on projects. 
  • Positive Sum. The partnership brings huge benefits to each side. TTD gets to turn its headquarters into a top notch facility that will become the central focus of the Bristol table tennis community. In doing so, they will earn a share of the profits produced by the Pod, and vest into shares of PingPod equity over time. PingPod gets to accelerate international expansion with a highly trusted partner and become the backdrop for all TTD content. Each brand is elevated by association with the other.
  • Relationships-First. TTD have entered into this arrangement with a long-term partnership mindset. The focus has been on the relationship between the firms, and to our customers. Partnership, not a trade. We feel totally aligned.
  • Local Knowledge. Bristol is the home of TTD, but it also happens to be the home to the oldest table tennis league in the UK, and it remains one of the largest league communities. The TTD team knows this community intimately, understands the customer pain points, and how to solve them. 

In addition to these TTD specific qualities, this Bristol market itself is ripe for a PingPod. 

The TTD facility located a few kilometers from the City Center is already a functioning table tennis space. The team uses the floor every week to practice, do some coaching, host tournaments and, of course, shoot content. Relative to building a Pod from scratch, converting an existing space is a light lift. 

In spite of the active league community, the Bristol table tennis ecosystem lacks an official table tennis club. Ping pong recreational play and leagues are relegated to part time municipal spaces such as churches and rec centers. When I visited Bristol I had the opportunity to meet numerous ping pong lovers who all conveyed the same message; Bristol desperately needs a proper facility. This story sounded familiar to us; tons of demand but very short supply. PingPod to the rescue!

The TTD team are the best operators we could ask for to activate this market. When we think about who we trust with the expansion of our brand both in terms of internal hires and for franchisees down the road, the first ingredient is passion. You will be hard pressed to find people as dedicated and passionate about the sport of table tennis as the TTD band. Beyond that, Dan and the rest of the TTD group are entrepreneurial, intelligent, hardworking and are just good people at their core. We welcome them to the PingPod family and look forward to building a long and fruitful partnership! 

Does Bristol’s large demand but lack of table tennis supply remind you of your town or city? Email us at [email protected] to inquire about PingPod franchise opportunities. 

Ping Pod
To play at PINGPOD requires PROOF OF VACCINATION as part of the KEY TO NYC

To play at PINGPOD requires PROOF OF VACCINATION as part of the KEY TO NYC