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Matching His Pitch

Felix Winternitz

Frank Geers has a dream. Indeed, Geers envisions the game of cornhole—this unpretentious game of beanbag pitching that originated amid the cornfields of Cincinnati’s west side before sweeping the nation—as the next professional sport.We’re talking arenas. Fans. National rankings. Team logos. T-shirt with quippy sayings like “Life’s A Pitch.” Pipe dream? Not at all, he says. It’s all seems within reach. In fact, the 1990 marketing graduate is taking his marketing skills and pairing them with a 21st century advertising savvy. He’s serving as president of the American Cornhole Organization, which strives to become the sole governing body of the sport, while also owning American Cornhole, a company that manufactures the customized sets.

Contemplate, he says, the promotional potential of an annual national tournament. Or mull a world series of championship cornhole, featuring sanctioned game sets that sport the brand names of corporate sponsors. “It dawned on me that this was a billboard waiting to happen,” he says, arguing that the commercial possibilities for these blank rectangular boards are limitless. Splash a Tide logo on one. Throw a Pepsi image on another.

Geers is emboldened by a veritable rush of media opportunities. In May, he’s helping launch a primetime cornhole television show for Fox SportsNet. He was a source for the book “Cornhole” and he’s a film star, of sorts, playing a cameo role in “Cornhole: The Movie,” which was released last summer. (“Straight to DVD,” he concedes.) He also signed a deal to produce gameboards for Carnival Cruise Lines, pushing shuffleboard off the deck as the next popular ship-shape activity.

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