Which Sports Brand/League/Team/Star has the highest following on YouTube? The EPL? The NBA? Cristiano Ronaldo? Lebron James? The answer?
None of them. Five devout Christian dudes from Texas hold that position.
This is the story of @DudePerfect Ep5 of #CreatorLegends #DudePerfect
It all started when Toney, aka The Bearded Man, arrived at his first day of college in Texas A&M. He was looking to make friends but as someone who had grown up going to Church he didn’t want to engage in what college is known for-drinking and promiscuity. So one Friday evening he started looking for other Christian dudes to be friends with.
This was when he ran into Garrett Hilbert(aka The Purple Hoser), his high school basketball teammate. The two of them would then meet Cody and Cory Cotton (aka, The Twins) and Cody Jones(aka The Tall Guy). Since the five of them were all devout Christians, they moved into the same house.
They also installed a basketball hoop in the backyard.
Becoming the cool kids
To pass the time on weekends they started betting each other sandwiches on which of them could sink a crazy trick shot. Since Toney sank a lot of them, they decided to post one of his shots online on “this YouTube thing”. Their first video, “Backyard Edition” was uploaded on April 2009. Within a week it had over 100,000 views.
Seeing the success of the first video, the trickshot troupe went on to create videos in Tyler’s ranch and one at their Christan-based summer camp. Both these videos blew up. Soon ESPN came around to interview the dudes. Seeing the encouragement, they decided to up the ante.
From the 3rd floor of the Texas A&M football stadium, Tyler threw a basketball into a hoop set on the football field’s track. The ball traveled 3.9 seconds in the air until it sank in the basket. At that point, it was the world’s longest successful basketball shot.
Dude Perfect was on the way to internet stardom.
The dudes would keep posting videos through college. People would constantly question them about the realness of their videos. Good even hired a team of “experts” to test the authenticity of the videos. But the group took the doubters on good-naturedly. After all, they wanted to make shots that looked “impossible”.
In 2010/2011, the dudes graduated college. They picked up full-time jobs in their respective fields. Seeing the potential of their channel, however, they made time to keep making videos. In 2011, however, they would go mainstream.
Look mom, the Dude Perfect is on TV!
Towards the second half of 2010, Dude Perfect hit the “Doughnut Shot”. This got them on the radar of Jimmy Kimmel and in Jan of 2011, they were featured on the show. A couple of years after, they decided to quit their day jobs and go full time on their passions.
They had also made the shift from only basketballs to trick shots with footballs, golf balls, ping-pong balls, pool or baseballs. The team went on to make multiple Guinness world records and the views on their channel crossed 50 million. They also bagged their first TV show.
In 2016, after 2 years of going full time, they had their own TV show called “The Dude Perfect Show” on CMT. The show gained popularity and moved to Nickelodeon a year later. With success came its fruits. They have over the years worked with sponsors like Walmart, Adidas, Toyota, Paramount and even Nike. But they have strictly avoided sponsorship deals which may influence their audience negatively. For example, alcohol brands.
They have also partnered with Sports teams like Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, Dallas Stars, Sacramento Kings, and Dallas Cowboys. They have also collaborated with celebrities and sports stars alike. Serena Williams, Zac Effron, Aaron Rodgers and Chris Paul have all featured in their videos.
The key to stardom
Why has the group done so well? It’s simple, really.
It’s just super hard to do what they do. This makes their niche one of the less crowded ones on YouTube. Not to mention the fact that the group value quality very highly. Even after 10 years, they’ve only uploaded 247 videos.
In 2020, Dude Perfect is worth 30 Million dollars. It’s estimated their annual salary is around $12 million from YouTube. 10 years, 54 million subscribers, 11 billion views and 30 million dollars later, however, their original goal has not changed.
As it states on the front page of their website, “Above all else, our ultimate goal is to glorify Jesus Christ in everything that we do. We want to use this platform for something much bigger than us.” We have God to thank for these dudes.
What are the Dudes upto now?
After 3 seasons on Nickelodeon, Dude Perfect came back home, that is, YouTube. On their channel, they’ve expanded into different formats like ‘Overtime’, ‘Bucket List’ and ‘Battles’. And of course, they still create incredible trick shots to keep their fans coming back for more.
In 2019, they launched their first feature-length movie showing the stories behind some of their most epic shots. Then in 2020, they partnered with YouTube Originals to create ‘Dude Perfect: Backstage Pass’. The documentary covers the group’s journey from their start in Texas to being a sports media juggernaut, as they embarked on their first live tour. It’s pretty perfect, dude.