Everyday People: Justin Leusner

Justin Leusner is CEO and founder of a popular sports news startup catering to Gen Z.

photo of Justin Leusner sitting with MacBook at a white table, by Cardoni


Solid Idea

After his first year at Penn State, in 2022, Leusner—a corporate innovation and entrepreneurship major in the Smeal College of Business—participated in the Happy Valley LaunchBox summer program. In the Digital TestLab, he learned about gaps in the market and customer discovery. “I found out that Gen Z sports fans didn’t watch TV,” he says, explaining they instead get news and highlights from Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. “Over the next 10 to 20 years, there’s going to be a complete shift to social media.” With that, he decided to launch a social media marketing startup called TDAY Sports, offering fast-paced coverage of basketball, football, and hockey.


Early Success

In its first few years, the startup has already earned $28,000 in backing through pitch competitions, Invent Penn State, and Happy Valley LaunchBox. Leusner also credits support from LaunchBox adviser Elizabeth Hay ’23 MBA WC and entrepreneurship classes with professors Jeanette Miller and Brad Leve: “They’ve provided so much mentorship and strategy.”


Internet History

At age 10, Leusner was creating YouTube videos. He posted daily for years, a mix of basketball content—like playing NBA video games—along with silly challenges and sports commentary. His channel peaked at 47,000 subscribers but eventually he shut it down when he was in high school.


Paying It Forward

Leusner was a LaunchBox instructor for a six-week “content creator” accelerator in the spring, where he helped a small cohort of digital entrepreneurs grow their brands. One thing he encourages? Just keep going. (“If you don’t give up, you cannot fail,” he says.) He’ll teach the accelerator again in the fall, before graduating in December.


College Collab

Last year, students in Penn State’s Corporation Finance honors class spent a semester building a 100-page business plan for TDAY Sports, which included an official valuation through various complex financial models.


All-In Algorithm

His entire team—35 paid staffers, both full and part time, who are mostly Penn State students—grew up with social media. Says Leusner: “Our biggest value to the marketplace is that it’s by Gen Z and for Gen Z.” 


Hometown: Morristown, N.J.

Campus: University Park

Claim to Fame: Founder of TDAY Sports, which has more than 615,000 followers on Instagram.

Club Co-Founder: Leusner started a student social media club on campus called Penn State REACH.

Summer Plans: Will spend two months in Los Angeles to build relationships in sports and social media.