In 2008, Chris Ruder founded Spikeball Inc., an easily recognizable black and yellow roundnet backyard game. In those first few years, Ruder was based out of Chicago and began to hold local tournaments there. Spikeball gradually emerged on the West Coast, and in 2014 the company launched a competitive season. Today, Spikeball supports 4+ million global players, 40 full-time employees, and 500+ tournaments annually.
What started as a grassroots backyard game has grown into an international sport. Spikeball, Inc. hosts and sponsors roundnet tournaments on a national and global scale. To break it down – roundnet is the sport created by Spikeball, Inc., while Spikeball is the manufacturer. Think similarly to how basketball is the sport and Wilson is a basketball manufacturer. Internationally, there are groups such as France Roundnet or Roundnet Belgium that are all branded as roundnet organizations. USA Roundnet was also launched to be the national governing body for the sport in the US. There has also been an International Roundnet Federation launched to oversee international play. The game is 2v2 and is centered around the roundnet.
To bring people together through competition and fun.
To be the model for how great sports are built!
The beauty of the sport is its simplicity in setup and play. The game is 2v2 and is centered around the roundnet. Team A begins by hitting the ball on the net toward Team B. After the serve, teams can move in any direction around the net. Teams have 3 maximum touches to return the ball on the net to the other team. If one team cannot return the ball in 3 touches, the opposing team receives 1 point. Games are played to 21, win by 2!
Growth for Spikeball
In 2015, Spikeball’s first big push for becoming a household name was its Shark Tank premiere. In 2018, the company started doing ESPN Broadcasts from tournaments like the College National Championships. Those really pushed it more mainstream, especially competitively. Of course, consumers can still purchase Spikeball to enjoy at the beach or in the backyard. Many people began playing at home during the pandemic while keeping their circles small.
Spikeball sponsors a quickly growing tour series across the country that is a large focus for the company. The Spikeball Tour Series features three tiers of events: Nationals, Majors, and Challengers. From the top, Spikeball will host the Roundnet Championship in 2022 in October. Throughout the year, Spikeball will host 3 Majors events that will feature a high level of competition with points and bids toward Nationals. Underneath that, various roundnet organizations will hold 10 sanctioned events called the Challenger Series that will have a connection to Nationals. On the college level, local clubs will host their own events throughout the year, with Spikeball hosting the College National Championships. Keep an eye out for the official 2022 schedule!
In 2022, Spikeball and the International Roundnet Federation will host the first Roundnet World Championship! The competition will be held in Belgium and will attract at least 300-400 teams from across the globe. Currently, there are 31 countries with governing roundnet bodies, and this will be the first time Europe competes against North America. Worlds will be hosted at Park Molenheide where everyone will stay on site. “It will be like a whole Olympic village,” says Nora White, Senior Sport Development Manager at Spikeball. Every country will have the opportunity to submit 5 men’s teams and 3 women’s teams to play for that gold medal. The Championship will also feature an open division to welcome anyone that would like to come play. “We are super excited for worlds. That will be the first time there’s this level of international competition. Organizing on that international level is a major step towards the Olympics and international games. Creating this structure for international competitive play has pushed the sport. It’s going to be a very exciting match to see who comes out for the throne,” White shares.
“My first suggestion to get involved in the sport would be the Spikeball app. The app features a newsfeed as well as pickup games and tournaments. You can just enter your area, and it will notify you of pickup games near you,” White suggests. Spikeball also created fwango.io, which is the registration and events platform custom to roundnet. This custom hub announces roundnet tournaments in the US. Most tournaments are open to all players at all skill levels. Players simply pick their partner, pick their division, and show up to play. “At our national events, 35-50% of participants are first-time tournament goers. We have a high level of competition that travels every weekend, then the casual competitive players, and we still have brand new people coming out every week somewhere,” White notes.
What does Spikeball need from hosts?
Generally, Spikeball is searching for a quality sports complex with basic amenities. 300×200 ft grass or soccer fields are ideal. Tournaments maximize space with 32 games on one soccer field.
With their audience of primarily 18–24-year-old competitors, proximity to a major airport is important to those high-level players that are traveling to multiple tournaments. Quality hotels at good rates for competitors are beneficial, too.
Tournaments are typically 9-5pm Saturday and 9-2pm Sunday. All players compete on Saturday, while Sunday is the championship day, where the top 4 teams from each division will play to win.
As a rapidly growing, youthful, and energetic brand, Spikeball is always looking to make new connections and book more events. Head to their Playeasy profile for more information or to reach out to their team directly!