Entrepreneurs

Can YouTube Influencer Danny Duncan Get Kids Back Outside Again?

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’s sold in more than 3,500 stores. (You can read about CROSSNET here.)

Meade is onto his next venture, Good Sport, where he and his two original partners have teamed up 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 more than 12 million across all social media. He also sells apparel in an online store, Danny Duncan 69, and mass retailers.

Duncan announced the partnership in YouTube last night in a video.

“Celebrities get involved in every industry from alcoholic beverages to digital apps. I wanted to disrupt the outdoor sporting industry and I love being outdoors. It’s so important to me and my mental health to get up and be active each day. We really hope these products inspire others to do the same,” says Duncan.

The goal of the six-person team, headquartered in Miami Beach, is to disrupt the sporting goods industry with the influencer-led brand by providing alternatives to dated backyard games. Duncan, known for his outlandish videos, has a big following among teen boys and young men, generating multi-million-dollar revenue from ads on his site. He has experience in the sports world, having worked with 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, bump off each other and fall to the ground; and backyard pong, an oversized beer pong game. They plan to roll out the products in stores such as Scheel’s, the Midwestern sporting goods chain, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, in spring 2023. In the meantime, they are selling the first three games through their website.

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Meade says they are responding to a hunger among young people for active things to do. Many spent the pandemic in front of computer screens, doing lessons on Google classroom. “Kids want to get outside and be kids,” he says.

The partnership came together when Meade reached out to Duncan with an offer to advertise. Finding they had a lot in common, they got to texting and talking all night, which led to an in-person meeting at Duncan’s home. They had soon agreed to create a sporting goods company together.

The partnership will allow the company to promote the products on Duncan’s YouTube channel, providing a strong competitive advantage, according to Meade. “Marketing is more expensive than ever before,” says Meade. “We have the chance to have the majority of our acquisitions come through Danny’s social media channels.”

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