Friday September 22, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

Art of Sport Sprints Ahead After ‘Harrowing’ 2020 Challenges

  • Art of Sport co-founder Kobe Bryant died in January, but his legacy is being cemented into the skincare brand he helped build.
  • Just after Art of Sport launched in Target stores nationwide, consumers were told to stay at home amid a global pandemic — sales have still quadrupled.
Art of Sport
Front Office Sports Today

How Rupert Murdoch Changed Sports Media Forever

As he steps down as chair of Fox and News Corp., we discuss his monumental and ongoing impact.
Listen Now
September 22, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

Kobe Bryant’s fingerprints can be found all over Art of Sport, the personal care brand the late basketball star co-founded. Matthias Metternich, AOS co-founder and chief executive officer, is making sure Bryant’s legacy is cemented within the brand.

“It was the hardest moment of my career,” Metternich said. “His legacy is incredibly important to us. As a founding partner, there’s an expectation to continue to serve the athlete, remain authentic and focus obsessively on the brand message and accessibility.

“He’s the greatest athlete of our time and continues to be central on our outlook of the world and part of his legacy is to drive it forward.”

Art of Sport was primed to enter its second full year on the market for growth. Less than two months after Bryant’s death, the physical retail world shut down because of COVID-19. Brick-and-mortar was supposed to be the growth driver for the Art of Sport, which launched as an online, direct-to-consumer brand. 

On the backs of its athlete partners — like Chicago Cubs shortstop Javy Baez and Houston Rockets guard James Harden, among others — Art of Sport became the fastest-growing new men’s care brand online in its first year. Along with the online growth, Metternich said there was a grassroots marketing approach as the company introduced “upwards of a million young athletes” to products at events across the nation.

As the company was moving forward online, other men’s care brands have also flooded the social media channels with advertisements. Still, Metternich doesn’t think there’s a better time to launch a men’s skincare brand as the demographic is paying more attention to what they put on and in their body. He also believes fitness is becoming more ingrained in daily routines than in the past.

“If I had to rewind 10 years, starting a skincare brand would have been a tough slog,” he said. “We have social media to thank, that’s partially because the audience has changed in the last decade and discovering brands online and voting with their wallets.”

“Now, more than ever, the timing is right and I think the validation is the consumer group waking up, but we will continue to be ahead and pioneers in creating the narrative for better skincare,” Metternich added.

In March, the brand launched in Target stores nationwide. The physical store entry was meant to help bridge the gap between an up-and-coming internet and legacy brand — 95% of men buy deodorant offline.


Manscaped Pushes Boundaries With “Below-The-Waist” 49ers Partnership

Men’s grooming company Manscaped made waves in June when it entered a…
July 23, 2020

Unlike the legacy brands, like Old Spice or Gillette, Metternich said Art of Sport has the advantage of being purpose built with a mission to solve a problem, and therefore a leg up because it has a narrative built on its athlete brand ambassadors.

“We’re highly accessible,” he said. “The nice thing about business is generations decide what brand to get behind. We are seeing enormous traction with the next generation, they don’t want to wear the same deodorant their dad wore.”

“We see interplay between the two channels, we view ourselves as omni-channel with a tight construction of complementary elements that weave nicely together,” he added.

Despite the pandemic’s throttling of retail foot traffic earlier this year — Target was down 35% in the third week of March — the push into Target helped quadruple Art of Sport’s 2020 revenue. The company is also poised to expand its physical retail presence six-fold in the next year. 

Art of Sport also recently closed a $6 million round of funding, which included investors like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former NBA player Wilson Chandler.

“I could not have predicted this particularly challenging year,” Metternich said. “I would imagine one of the hardest examples of launching a new consumer brand full scale nationally when people are told to stay at home, that’s a harrowing journey.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Patrick Mahomes

NFL Media Machine Continues To Dominate In Week 1

NBC and CBS posted their best Week 1 viewership since 2015.
Amer Sports, the parent company of Wilson Sporting Goods and Louisville Slugger, has filed for an IPO according to Bloomberg.

IPO Could Reportedly Value Wilson Parent at $10 Billion

The NFL, NBA, NCAA, and U.S. Open tennis use Wilson game balls.
The University of Kentucky is the first school selected for Vanessa Bryant’s Mama Program in partnership with Nike.

Kentucky Basketball to Wear Kobe Bryant Nike Sneakers

The University of Kentucky is the first program selected for Mamba Program.

The Pickleball Effect: How Tech Amplifies Sports From Niche to Notorious

A closer look at what defines the niche sports fan.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How Rupert Murdoch Changed Sports Media Forever


Featured Today

Teams without secured venue situations could be left out of a potential XFL-USFL merger.

XFL-USFL Merger Could Drop Teams, Change League Name

Teams without secured venues could be cut from a XFL-USFL merger.
September 21, 2023

Rupert Murdoch's Exit Leaves Lasting Fox Sports Legacy

Rupert Murdoch steps down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp.
Could ESPN lose events such as the NBA Finals if it sold ABC.
September 21, 2023

Selling ABC Poses Billion-Dollar Dilemma for Disney and ESPN's Future

Losing ABC would create complications as ESPN enters NBA rights negotiations.
Boise State Broncos running back Ashton Jeanty (2) runs the ball against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks during the first half at Albertsons Stadium.
September 20, 2023

The First Official Proposal for Promotion-Relegation In College Football

Realignment is forcing Group of 5 schools to rethink their structure.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations

Rewriting the Sports Media Playbook

WSC's highlight automation improved Clemson's content strategy and overall growth.

Creating Fan-Centric Content With AI

WSC’s highlight automation improved the speed of ESPN’s content creation.

Re-Imagining Storytelling With AI

Amy Anderson, Head of Content Strategy at NASCAR Studios, discusses the role of AI technology in developing and growing new content.
Arial view of Audi testing track
December 4, 2022

Audi Gears Up for F1 with Major New Facility

Audi is building a 10,000 square-foot building to support its F1 efforts.
Woman wears Meta Quest headset while working out to have virtual reality exercise session
November 22, 2022

Meta's Plans for VR Fitness Could Hit Snag

A government agency is looking to block an acquisition by Meta.
Nike phone advertisement
November 15, 2022

Nike Jumps Further into Metaverse With Virtual Sneaker Platform

The world’s largest sportswear company is taking its talents to the metaverse.

Sports Content Kings: NASCAR’s Amy Anderson on Re-Imagining Storytelling With AI

Read an interview with NASCAR Studios Head of Content Strategy, Amy Anderson, to learn how her team is re-imagining storytelling.

Webinar: How AI Can Boost Fan Engagement in Sports Video

Learn how AI can boost fan engagement in sports video.