Art of Sport ambassador James Harden

Art of Sport, the body care brand tested by some of the top athletes in the sporting world, is expanding exponentially to begin 2021.

Cofounded by Matthias Metternich, Brian Lee and the late Kobe Bryant, Art of Sport grew by four times in 2020 and its retail footprint is expected to increase by tenfold, entering retailers such as Walgreens, CVS, Meijer, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Kroger’s among others. They also raised $6 million in funding led by American entrepreneur Mark Cuban.

“We’ve had tremendous pull from the offline world, and had retailers knocking at our door to launch,” said Metternich.

Art of Sport first debuted at the end of 2018 online only and on Amazon. The brand was one of the headliners for Amazon’s Prime Day in 2019 and offered fragrances developed with Bryant, including the Victory deodorant that Bryant named and became a bestseller for the brand.

After Prime Day, Art of Sport entered Target in 2020 and launched as many as 14 products at the retailer, including face washes, lotions, soaps, body sprays and deodorants. This year, the brand will increase its advertising starring its ambassadors.

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“We want this brand to be everywhere and accessible to everyone,” said Metternich. “We also brought our prices down, pushing out greater volumes.”

Metternich, a former high school and college athlete, and Lee developed Art of Sport to be a true sport-driven body care brand, as opposed to, as Metternich put it, “slapping sport on the label.”

Growing up, he was inspired by brands like Nike, Adidas and Gatorade, brands that he wore and used to compete, and aims to have Art of Sport be another brand that serves athletes and helps them be their best selves.

“I saw brands that said sport on them and I couldn’t tell the difference between the regular products and the ones that say sport on them,” he explained. “Many have been around for years and use sport on the label, but it didn’t mean they were the Nike of the category.”

After developing the products, the team sought out athletes to test the products at the request of Bryant, and recruited Brooklyn Nets star and former NBA MVP James Harden, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, X Games gold medalist Ryan Sheckler, professional surfer Sage Erickson and Chicago Cubs star and 2016 World Series Champion Javier Baez.

“In general, the brand is aimed at a lifestyle and a mind-set,” Metternich said. “It’s about people that want to be their best.”