Sunday 20 October 2019

New 'Airbnb for athletes' app launched to link sports personalities to business gigs

Jack Carty of Ireland — seen here in action against Wales in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium last month — has signed up to the new service. Photo: Sportsfile
Jack Carty of Ireland — seen here in action against Wales in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium last month — has signed up to the new service. Photo: Sportsfile

Fearghal O'Connor

Player and talent agency Sport Endorse has launched an app that allows companies to scroll through a menu of sports stars who are available to attend events or do other work.

The app, which is aimed at simplifying the growing market for linking up with sports talent in the corporate world, already has 150 high-profile Irish and British sportsmen and women listed.

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It allows firms to pitch promotional, event and other work, and agree a price directly using the app.

"This brings companies who have opportunities together with sportspeople who are open to them in a very easy way," said Sport Endorse co-founder Trevor Twamley.

"It works like Airbnb from the companies' point of view and it is like LinkedIn for sportspeople who want commercial opportunities." A variety of sportspeople feature on the platform, including rugby players such as Irish fly-half Jack Carty, Devin Toner, Ian Madigan and Eimear Considine, currently appearing as 'The Eimearnator' in a high profile TV advert. GAA players on the app include Galway star Shane Walsh, Limerick hurler Darragh O'Donovan and former Kerry star Kieran Donaghy. Former sports stars include footballers such as Stan Collymore and Ray Clemence.

Twamley said the company aims to have 500 sportspeople listed by Christmas and up to 2,000 within a year. "We are already seeing companies booking sportspeople for jobs every day, so it is working well," he said.

"We are planning to grow further in Ireland, but also in the UK, and we are looking at expanding it into the American market too because there are a lot of opportunities there." The timing of this expansion would depend on funding and the company is seeking to raise capital, Twamley said.

The app allows a company to set its price for an appearance at a particular event, for example. It can then use the app to browse through sports stars who are available at that budget and pitch the work to them. Sport Endorse earns a small percentage of the fee from every transaction.

"We obviously have very well-known faces on the app but the real strength of this is the variety of sportspeople available for this type of thing.

"In the past, all of this type of work would go to maybe 5pc or 10pc of the best known people, but what we are trying to do is to open it up to a much wider pool and, for companies, to a much wider variety of budgets."

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