Spokane Journal of Business

Protecting scores with TV Jockstrap

~

  • Print Article
1
Richard Pisani says he received positive exposure for TV Jockstrap at the big CES convention in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Spokane’s Richard Pisani has created a fabric garment of sorts to block sports ticker scores for his wife, Theresa, who complained about game-score spoilers.

“She was thrilled about it for a Christmas present,” Pisani says of his invention, dubbed the TV Jockstrap.

Those pesky score tickers that scroll across the bottom of the TV screen are especially frustrating for those who record games for later viewing and don’t want to know the outcomes before they watch them, Pisani says.

After Googling “annoying score ticker” and reading numerous complaints echoing his wife’s sentiments, Pisani, 72, realized he could supply an existing demand.

Before finalizing a prototype for his product, Pisani went through several materials, including Velcro and woven fabric, before deciding on an elastic band for stretch and endurance. Pisani had to figure out other details including length, durability, and a customized buckle.

After finding a company in Los Angeles called Web Industries, which specializes in manufacturing, Pisani was able to order more elastic straps. His first product order totaled 1,000 straps in 2017.

“A low-tech solution to a high-tech problem,” Pisani calls it.

Pisani wanted an attention grabbing, edgy name, and coincidentally his daughter came up with the same name, too. Pisani says that TV Jockstrap, a product name of home-based, South Hill parent company Swooshrp LLC, is a combination of what the product is--a strap for those who watch or engage in sports.

After solidifying details of his invention, Pisani reached out to Amazon.com Inc. about selling it. The company assigned him a professional who helped guide him through the selling process, and by 2018, TV Jockstrap was on Amazon’s site at a current rate of $16.69, on sale from $19.99. 

Pisani boasts the soft-knitted elastic will fit up to 75-inch screens, and claims that it won’t risk damaging any surface, because it doesn’t have an adhesive. Its tagline: The solution to score-spoiler pollution.

“It’s a unique product,” claims Pisani. “There’s nothing (else) out there that blocks the score ticker.”

Sales have been good, Pisani says, although he declines to disclose his companys revenues. So far, Pisani has invested $25,000 into product development and launch, including tapping his retirement fund to hire a marketing team.

As a first-time business owner, Pisani reveals he made a few initial costly mistakes.

The product, which he patented in the U.S. in 2017 and currently is awaiting an international patent on, has received a positive and enthused response, he says.

One customer, who previously had tried unsuccessfully to create an electronic interface to block the score ticker, said the TV Jockstrap solved the issue, according to Pisani.

But not all responses have been cheery; one reviewer on Amazon left the product a low score claiming it did not cover the ticker. 

In January, Pisani attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where thousands of inventors sign up to showcase their products. 

CES proved to be the exposure that TV Jockstrap needed. The elastic strap caught the eye of several people in media, including a sport’s announcer from Fox who ended up grabbing the product for his friend, ABC’s “Giz Wiz” Chad Johnson, who reviews various products on his channel.

Johnson ended up featuring TV Jockstrap, giving it positive feedback  and the Wiz’s stamp of approval. Ironically, at CES, an ESPN employee who works on sports tickers, ended up introducing himself to Pisani and asking for his product.

“If someone likes to record games and watch them later, TV spoilers are a thing of the past,” writes Ben Gotz with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Pisani has also done a segment on KHQ explaining his product. In addition to local exposure, he recently received a call from As Seen on TV, a company pioneered by entrepreneur and former shark on the TV show Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington. Harrington has been instrumental in the launch of more than 500 products, according to its site. When As Seen on TV expresses interest in a product and deems it a good fit to showcase, the company helps with aspects of the launch and exposure including producing professional infomercials.

In an influx of good news, Pisani’s Kickstarter campaign to raise $4,200 in 30 days to start the engineering and production of a strap larger than the current 2-inch product was approved on the same day As Seen on TV reached out to him.

Currently, Pisani is working with Al Warren, a Canadian distributor, to sell TV Jockstrap outside of the U.S. Pisani wants to get into retail distribution to be able to sell to big-name retailers such as Best Buy and Target.

His product includes an option for a custom template to be attached to the strap with a selection of a sport’s team name, and he says that can include the name of retail distributors, as well.

“For me, that’d be better than selling it direct,” Pisani says.

Pisani projects that his product will be well received, and he is ready to meet a high demand. He says he hopes that the revenue he makes can pay for his grandchildren’s college tuition.

“I’ve got a great product that sports fans will love, and I’m trying to get the word out,” says Pisani.

Alla Drokina
  • Alla Drokina

  • Email Alla Drokina
  • Follow RSS feed for Alla Drokina

Before Alla started as a reporter with the Journal in 2019, she freelanced for The Pacific Northwest Inlander mostly covering culture and food. A breakfast enthusiast, she appreciates the simple things in life like cozy nooks, mystery podcasts, and 90s sitcoms.

Read More

Sign up for our E-mail updates

including the
Morning Edition

Join our list