about the partnership between Spikeball & Brookline

the ugly truth about spikeball 

Disclaimer: we don't want to post this article, but are forced to. Because of Spikeball's unlegal actions which affect everybody at Brookline and our beloved partners throughout Europe. The purpose of this article is to bring out the truth and prove we have not acted irresponsible. We have been set-up in a game of greed but need to face the consequences for which we did not choose. Therefore we provide you with total transparency. We have nothing to hide. 

Spikeball's company value #9 is "Don’t be a jerk".

Spikeball writes to have no tolerance for comments/actions intended to harm others. These statements look great on paper, in reality Spikeball behaves completely the opposite. 

It is predatory, greedy, and willing to do whatever it takes to make more money. Over the backs of the people that helped growing their brand.

All statements in this document are supported by written evidence, which is available upon request for your evaluation.  They are not uploaded yet, because of legal reasons. 

A long story short...

  • Brookline and Spikeball have an exclusive distribution partnership for Europe from 2020 till 2025.
  • During the partnership, a debt from Brookline to Spikeball arises. Caused by Spikeball for not taking back products.
  • In december 2023 Spikeball unexpected and unlawfully, prematurely terminates the partnership and stops supplying Brookline. To take over the distribution network Brookline has build, get better margins and end Brookline's exclusivity in Europe. 
  • This leaves Brookline with a debt and no chance of repaying Spikeball or other creditors.
  • The "take over and cut-out the middleman that made you big" strategy is set up in collaboration with Erwin ter Beek (former Brookline employee, fired for not performing) and a customer of Brookline: Buffalo.nl.
  • While Brookline and Spikeball have not settled this dispute, Spikeball is already doing business with Buffalo.nl and Erwin ter Beek works as their Sales Manager. This is illegal, because we have the contract.
  • Now Spikeball/Erwin/Buffalo.nl see their actions are illegal, they file for bankruptcy of Brookline. To silence Brookline, making it unable for us to take legal actions.
  • We are out of options, the only thing we can do is tell you the ugly truth. Supported with evidence.

Timeline & supporting documents

2020: The Sole Distribution Contract (SDC)

2021: Switching to a demand planning and creating a debt at Brookline

2022: Written agreement about taking back products

2022: Whatsapp stating Spikeball will not take back products, unlike agreed upon

2022: Payment plan for debt & updates

2023: Confirmation by a third party for postponing debt repayment 

2023: Spikeball letter to announce sudden termination

2024: Legal letters back and forth between the lawyers about the unjustified termination of the partnership

2024: E-mails Erwin ter Beek reaching out to Brookline customers with confidential information

2020: How Brookline started working with Spikeball

We met with Ken Simon (VP of Sales) of Spikeball in 2019 at ISPO Munich because we were was successfully selling KanJam in Europe, and Spikeball wanted to have a partner for the European market. After thorough negotiations, we signed a 5-year exclusive distributor contract with Spikeball in May 2020. 

In particular, because of this cooperation, we founded a new company, Brookline. (It seemed awkward to sell Spikeball products under KanJam Europe B.V.).  

2020 - 2023: Results of the Spikeball & Brookline partnership until 2023

With great enthusiasm and dedication, we started selling Spikeball’s products in the European Market. It’s safe to say that we far exceeded expectations.

Within the context of the contract, Brookline has always proven to be an excellent distributor. Sales targets were exceeded by 662% in 2021, 827% in 2022, and 445% in 2023. All this was done under the problematic circumstances Spikeball created itself towards Brookline.

2021: Switching to a demand planning and creating a debt at Brookline

The partnership between Brookline and Spikeball thrived during the first 1.5 years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdowns increased demand for their products. Initially operating on a cash flow basis, we faced challenges in 2021 due to COVID-19 impacts, production capacity issues, and shipping container shortages, leading to stock shortages and then excess inventory.

As a result, Spikeball suggested to shift from cash flow to demand planning and forecasting from late 2021 to early 2022 to better manage operations under the following conditions:

  • Brookline moves toward demand planning with a forecasted 2x growth.
  • To do so, we agree on a couple of safety nets
  • Purchase Orders were preferably given for the whole year and could be cancelled 40 days prior to shipping
  • Excess inventory could be returned to Spikeball
  • A weekly demand call to discuss progress

Brookline ordered 22 containers of stock from Spikeball between January 13 and 17, 2022, to prepare for the Spring/Summer 2022 season, with the assumption they could cancel orders 40 days before shipment and return unsold items. However, the unforeseen Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022 led to a significant drop in demand across the EU. Despite this, the deadline for order cancellation had passed, and all containers were shipped. Brookline canceled future orders but was left with excess inventory, expecting to return it to Spikeball.

In August 2022, Spikeball refused to accept back €1.2 million worth of goods, contrary to the agreement, and demanded Brookline to arrange a payment plan for this unintended debt.

Supporting documents:
2022: Agreement about taking back products
2022: Whatsapp stating Spikeball will not take back products

2022: The Payment Plan

On September 13, 2022, Spikeball introduced a Payment Plan for Brookline, allowing them to manage payments for previously ordered 22 containers ("Legacy Orders") while still placing new orders. A credit limit of USD 1,000,000 was set; Brookline had to pay in advance for any new orders if they exceeded this limit without clearing their arrears.

Spikeball didn't respond to questions from Brookline for better margins regarding new orders. As it seemed the operational costs of selling the products where too high, combined with paying of the debt. 

Supporting documents:
2022: Payment plan
2022: E-mail margins

2022 - 2023: Selling inventory and prioritize new orders over payment of debt

Brookline worked hard to manage past due payments while placing new orders, leveraging successful sales strategies, especially on Amazon. Facing potential off-season sales slumps and high storage costs, Brookline suggested delaying payments on past orders to focus on new orders.

To put it simple, sales were going to slow (ineffective sales people on payroll, not even able to earn their own salaries), our margins were too low and costs were too high to repay Spikeball within the remaining period of the contract. Because the costs of selling the products where too high we fired the person responsible for the low sales, Erwin ter Beek. 

In October 2023, an agreement was reached with Spikeball for better margins and to prioritize new orders from Brookline at Spikeball over payment of the debt, with a commitment to minimum monthly purchases. This meant we could keep on doing business so, in the end, we also could pay our debt to Spikeball. According plan and during the remaining period of the contract. Brookline shared financials with Spikeball to ensure transparency and justify any order volume discrepancies. Despite challenges, such as unforeseen expenses, Brookline maintained prepayment for all new orders.

The arrangement aimed to balance financial obligations and support future operations, with plans to renegotiate terms in spring 2024. However, Spikeball's move to sell directly on Amazon, based on Brookline's initial efforts, stirred concerns about the partnership's fairness.

Supporting documents:
2023: Confirmation postponing debt repayment 

2024: Escalation to where we are now...

Despite these efforts and the agreement to prioritize new orders over legacy debt payments, on December 29th (right after Christmas) Spikeball has unexpectedly terminated our exclusive distribution agreement (which lasted until mid 2025) and ceased supplying us since December.

We believe this termination is unlawful and fundamentally unfair, purely aimed at eliminating Brookline as their exclusive European distributor. The main reason for Spikeball is greed, by taking over the European market, get better margins and earn more money themselves. Making the company more valuable as, so we've understood through some of our contacts, Chris is trying to sell Spikeball. Hence, they appointed a new CFO last year and fired dozens of employees in 2023. Meaning less costs and more margin. All experts we speak to say unanimously that these are signs of a company getting ready to be sold...

Nevertheless, we've tried our very best to discuss and solve this matter with them in a decent and correct way, but Spikeball has only communicated with us through their lawyers in the last two months. Neither Chris Ruder, nor Scott Palmer, nor Joseph Johnsen (the new CFO), nor Ken Simon is responding to our e-mails, whatsapp messages or phone calls. Except for a cowardlike reaction as "communication moving forward happens between our attorneys".

In the meantime, we found out that Erwin ter Beek has helped Spikeball to set up an alternative European distribution model. Erwin worked for Brookline till October last year as our Sales manager (leading the sales agents), but didn't perform and therefore we fired him. So it appears to be some kind of revenge from his side and for Spikeball the alternative European distribution model provides them simply with higher margins than working with Brookline. 

For us this seems to be a scheduled and executed preconceived backstabbing plan. 

Supporting documents:
2023: Spikeball announces sudden termination
2024: Legal letters back and forth about the unjustified termination of the partnership
2024: Erwin ter Beek reaching out to Brookline customers with confidential information

This brings us to the important question if such a conspiracy is legally acceptable and possible?

The short answer is NO, which is confirmed by one of the best lawyers in The Netherlands in this field of expertise. But knowing you have the law on your side is something different than having it acknowledged by a judge and secondly forcing Spikeball to pay a decent compensation for breach of contract. Especially after we found out only two weeks ago about their real intentions and Erwin being involved...

The only option we have is a lengthy and costly legal battle in multiple lawsuits (because of different jurisdictions and different companies/people to sue) —a route which for us is very hard to afford in terms of time and resources. Because Spikeball has taken away the possibility for us to generate income to finance this.

This standoff has severely impacted our operations, leading to a significant drop in turnover for the past months, as we are unable to fulfill customer orders (in 2024 almost 1M!!!) because Spikeball is not supplying us. 

Spikeball is our largest creditor and with these sales for 2024 already in our books, we would have easily managed to pay our debt towards them within the remaining period of the contract. We only need Spikeball to supply us, so we can supply our customers! I explicitly state 'easily' because on the other side we also reduced our costs by letting go of non-performing sales people and the 1M sales already in the books.

But, as Spikeball understands this situation also (we always shared our financials with them) they refuse to supply us, so our financial situation gets worse by the day as our current costs were budgeted with the forecast of Brookline selling Spikeball. Which we can't. That is not our choice but we are now forced to deal with the devastating consequences.

What are the consequences?

So long story short, Spikeball unlawfully terminated our contract, refuses to talk, stops supplying us while they should, the situation kills our cash flow and we can't do anything about it as we don't have the resources and time to fight against it. And if we do want to fight against it, Spikeball threatens to file Brookline for bankruptcy, because of the outstanding debt.... It feels incredible unfair.

1. Firing all Brookline staff
We informed all remaining Brookline staff (Sylvia, Jill, Beer and Tom) about the current situation not being sustainable and by the end of this month we can't pay salaries anymore. Meaning we're all losing our jobs.

2. We can't supply our customers
We informed all customers who have place orders at Brookline about the situation. As we have contracts that oblige us to supply them, we are  facing penalties for not doing so. These will be added to our creditors.

3. No commission for our sales agents
Brookline works with 8 sales agents, who have worked very hard to sell Spikeball to local customers. As we can't supply their customers, they will receive no commission or compensation. They have worked for nothing. Erwin ter Beek is now stealing their customers and commission.

4. Challenge to pay our creditors
Over the last months Spikeball did not supply us. So within current cost structure (based on selling Spikeball), we were unable to pay some  bills (such as sponsorship fees to roundnet communities) and it becomes a challenge to pay these creditors by selling the remaining stock we have.

5. Bankruptcy for Brookline
Meaning Brookline is facing bankruptcy. Moreover, Bas even risks losing his house because of his personal involvement in Brookline as a company when Brookline goes bankrupt.


The situation regarding Spikeball is totally clear. They want to eliminate Brookline out of greed (to get better margins) and have been told how to do so with the help of Erwin ter Beek.

Next to this, Spikebal now does not have an exclusive distribution agreement with Brookline for Europe anymore. This makes it more easy for Chris Ruder to sell Spikeball, which he plans to do so we've heard (while staying on board as their CEO).

At Brookline, we can only try to settle things correctly and the best way possible with all the customers, partners, people, clubs, associations and teams we’ve been serving.

We still hope Spikeball sees this as well and follows their company values, especially #9 “Don’t be a jerk”. This means, come to the table and settle things correctly. 

If not, we will fight against this unjustice as long as we can.

Thank you for reading this. If you have any questions, we are more than happy to answer them. Or if you want to see the supporting documents, please let us know. We have nothing to hide.

Also, thank you for all the love, support and understanding. It means a lot to us. 

Warmest regards,

The Brookline Team