What is the Story Behind Your Company?
Many people never find something they love in their entire lifetime. I am fortunate enough to have literally found it in my backyard.
Thirty minutes from where I grew up, wiffle balls and bats were manufactured at the The Wiffle Factory. Before I weighed thirty pounds I had wiffle balls and bats zinging around my living room. And before I was thirty years old, a childhood friend and I started Big League Wiffle Ball, the premier wiffle ball tournament in the country.
My name is Nick Benas. Jared Verrillo and I grew up in Connecticut playing wiffle ball. It’s big where we’re from. Everybody plays. You get hooked on it because you don’t need that many people to play, the bats and balls are affordable, and you can easily adapt your playing field to whatever environment you’re in. Once you get a handle on how to toss a wiffle curve, sinker, or riser, you’re done. When that ball leaves your hand, it breaks the laws of physics. Your buddy gets that look in his eye like he’s going to crack the ball into left, but all you hear is the swoosh of air as he misses—the wiff. There’s no base running so it’s active but you don’t need iron-man fitness to participate. It has all the loved fundamentals of baseball, but it’s streamlined for our generation. Let’s face it, where in America is it possible today to get eighteen guys or girls together one afternoon to play a baseball game? But if you’re grilling out at your buddy’s house and there’s a few of you there, you’ve got enough for a wiffle ball game.
Jared and I grew up creating tournaments between our friends. We love the game. We went to college. I did a tour in Iraq with the Marine Corps. As we went about our lives, the love of the game never left us. In 2007, we started Big League Wiffle Ball. We started handing out cash prizes. We started elevating the game. The premier talent showed up. We keep the pitch speeds moderate so that the pitches are somewhat hittable, increasing the action. Field skills get tested just as much as the pitcher’s ability. It’s been over a decade since the first tournament we sponsored. Now we run tournaments all over the country. A portion of our proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund which supports cancer research and care at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
This is definitely an American dream come true for us. Jared and I have taken something that we loved to do as kids, opened it up to wider markets, and enjoy every second of the experience. It’s remarkable to see the game that we loved so much when we were growing up, grow up itself. It’s making friends, a lot of friends.
What are the Future Plans for Big League Wiffle Ball?
We envision a World Series of Poker Model….with large buy-in and payouts in Las Vegas. We keep it Medium pitch so it levels the playing field. We also plan on creating a platform for national sponsors to attach their brand to the Big League Name. Plus we plan on licensing for satellite tournaments and charity events.
How do You Promote the Company?
We promote via word of mouth and social media. We find that traditional media is a money suck and it doesn’t find our target demographic.
Find Big League Wiffle Ball:
Category: Entrepreneur Interviews