Chris Meade, his brother Gregory and friend Mike Delpapa launched the fast-growing brand CROSSNET-built around a game that combines Four Square and volleyball – in 2017. Now it is sold in more than 3,500 stores. (You can read more about CROSSNET here.)
Meade is on his way to his next venture, Sportywhere he and his two original partners started working with YouTube influencer Danny Duncan, along with CROSSNET CFO Chris Koop and Stefan Toler, Duncan’s manager. Duncan has 6.8 million subscribers on YouTube and over 12 million on all social media. He also sells clothing in an online store, Danny Duncan 69, and major retailers.
Duncan announced the partnership on YouTube last night in a video.
“Celebrities are involved in every industry, from alcoholic beverages to digital apps. I wanted to disrupt the outdoor sports industry and I love being outdoors. It is so important to me and my sanity to get up and be active every day. We really hope these products inspire others to do the same,” says Duncan.
The goal of the six-member team, headquartered in Miami Beach, is to disrupt the sporting goods industry with the influencer-led brand by providing alternatives to old-fashioned backyard games. Known for his outlandish videos, Duncan has a large following among teenage boys and young men and generates millions in revenue from advertising on his site. He has experience in the sports world and has worked in the NFL.
The brand plans to roll out a series of 30-40 games such as SmashNet, which combines roundnet and ping pong; Bubble Bash, where players wear inflatable suits, crash into each other and fall to the ground; and backyard pong, an oversized beer pong game. They plan to roll out the products in the spring of 2023 at stores such as Scheel’s, the Midwestern sporting goods chain, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Meanwhile, they are selling the first three games through their website.
Meade says he responds to a hunger among young people to be active. Many spent the pandemic in front of computer screens and taking classes in Google Classroom. “Kids want to get out and be kids,” he says.
The partnership came about when Meade approached Duncan with an offer to advertise. Discovering that they had a lot in common, they started texting and talking all night, leading to a face-to-face meeting at Duncan’s house. They soon agreed to start a sporting goods company together.
The partnership will allow the company to promote the products on Duncan’s YouTube channel, giving Meade a strong competitive advantage. “Marketing is more expensive than ever before,” Meade says. “We have the opportunity to run the majority of our acquisitions through Danny’s social media channels.”