It's My Play founder Momir Gajic joined Wells Dusenbury to talk about his new sports website, which has been dubbed "Facebook for athletes."
How did you come up with the idea to build this website?
I had a career as a scout and a coach for seven years and among the organizations that I work for, I was an intern scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves and I was an assistant basketball coach for the University of Rhode Island. One of my specialties in my coaching and scouting career was international scouting. I traveled to a lot of countries and scouted a lot of players. What I notice is a general gap that exists today and it's very hard for certain athletes to promote and market themselves. Most of the world today is using Facebook, but Facebook does not have a search system or platform where I can search where I can search for a specific athlete or specific category and athlete, where I can try and find out who is good enough for my team. Nor does an athlete have a means to reach coaches in certain regions and certain levels. So, I have been developing this website for years now and we just published it recently and we are very excited about it.
So tell me specifically, you mentioned in general what this is about, what can people expect when they go to this website?
Well, first of all, the website allows athletes to create a specific sports profile and connect it to facebook and twitter. This profile is going to show exactly what their characteristics are, they will show the references, it will show what internet searches reveal about the athlete, they'll show the videos, the photos and within that, you are getting one athlete where everything is in one place. So when a coach, scout or another person looks at the profile, he is able to get that information in one place. And that is the real advantage with it's my play.
So you talked about how it's been done using facebook for athletes, talk a little bit more about that and how it relates to specific players and what kind of similarities you can see with that?
Well, you know what, this function, I always like to say that itsmyplay is the fusion of facebook, twitter and LinkedIn in one, specifically made for the sports industry. Just like you have a profile, you have a wall, in the wall you are able to see the activities of all individuals, teams and organizations that you are following, you are connected with. Just like in facebook, we have friends and we are able to follow our friends and their activities. In LinkedIn, we have connections and we are able to follow our connections activities. In itsmyplay, we are able to follow athletes, sports employees and fans, but it's also teams and organizations that we are connected with. That is a real benefit. The advantage over facebook and twitter is that we have a search system. This means an athlete can come and look for a team, an organization, sports employees like coaches and scouts, by region, by position, by sport. Also, in the same way, scouts and coaches can come and put in the search system, if they would like to find certain sports, certain positions, certain range of height, the status, if they are eligible or if he is not eligible. If he is a professional athlete, you can find out if he is a free agent or if he has a contract, the search system is definitely an advantage over other social networks.
This is obviously a great tool for athletes, but as you mentioned before, it's not just for athletes and coaches, but fans too, they can use the website as well?
Absolutely. Some great stuff for parents to open their profiles and post photos of their kids playing and they are able to communicate with other parents that are involved in sports and also with the coaches and scouts. This is a great tool, specifically for parents with athletes.
What do you think is the biggest strength, the biggest thing that your most excited about with this website?
You know what, we published this website in November. Right now, we have over 120 countries represented. For us, the best meaning of our growth will be in the grassroots of college sports. There are 120 sports available. That means that athletes, sports employees and fans from 120 sports can find some meaning on this website. I am looking forward to seeing this grow, specifically in the grassroots of college sports and hopefully in other areas later on.
And you mentioned itsmyplay.com, and I imagine it's a fairly easy service to set up right? It's not a complicated service, I imagine?
Not at all. If your setting up a LinkedIn profile, it's the same timing, it's very simple, it explains everything. It's a little bit of a different platform, but if people are used to using LinkedIn or twitter or facebook they will be able to adjust very quickly.
Is this something where colleges can look on here too and can target some of the guys who don't have as big of looks. Can this be a great tool for them?
Absolutely. I'll give you an example. Last year we had a prototype that was functioning only for the sport of basketball. We had a kid whose name is Andrew Deekus. He was a basketball player for a small town college in Georgia. He graduated and for a year and a half he was going to different tryouts, trying to find a look for a professional team. He was not successful. He started using itsmyplay and in a month the agent from Europe saw his photos, connected with him and now Andrew Deekus, after only six months of using itsmyplay, is playing professional and fulfilling his dream. This is exactly the website for eighty percent of the athletes that need another edge to promote himself, to show the art, to show the videos, to show the photos. The more active you are with itsmyplay, you have a better chance to be notice by the scouts and coaches. We have coaches and scouts using the site from all over the world, using itsmyplay right now. Again, it's in the starting stages , but we are very happy about the traffic that we are seeing. And 120 countries are represented. So, I'm excited to see where it grows.
So right now it seems like you've got different platforms on here. You've got scouting platform that can help players get recruited. Also, it's a way for fans to connect with teams and players. Almost a real community atmosphere.
Absolutely. That's the right word that you said. This is a sports community, a segregated sports community, and what I mean by that, it's a sports community on its own. It gives you the functions where you can communicate and find people of interest and it's much easier that other social networks. And that is the out pitch.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about the website?
You know what. I would love to invite everybody to go on to youtube and just type its itsmyplay and they're going to find our video, it's a very inspiring video, it actually brands us for who we are. Our goal is for the website to assist athletes and everybody else, but mostly athletes from all over the world in achieving their dreams and pursuing their goals. Hopefully the video will show the meaning of the brand that we are trying to promote.
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