On his recent stint as the guest host of Jeopardy! clearly illuminated, Aaron Rodgers has interests and aspirations that stretch well beyond the spacious confines of an NFL field (whether that field is in Green Bay or … somewhere else).
To help make it easier for fans, sports journalists and potential business partners to determine what those interests actually are as well as draw attention to his charitable endeavors, Rodgers just launched a first-of-its-kind digital platform with his longtime friend Ryan Rottman. Now up and running, the Online Sports Database contains in-depth profiles of NFL, NBA and MLB players that show the athletes’ contract details, personal interests, business ventures, charities and career statistics as well as agent and management contact information.
Rottman, an actor by trade who befriended Rodgers on a California golf course years ago, explains that he routinely used IMDb for research after moving from Texas to LA to pursue his career and always wondered why there wasn’t a similar one-stop website for sports and athletes.
“Even going to an ESPN, if you click on a player’s bio in their profile it’s simply where they went college, their height, weight and what position they play,” Rottman tells InsideHook. “You don’t get any information about who they are.”
Over dinner one night, Rottman asked Rodgers if an IMDb for sports was something he would use. “He saw the need for it,” Rottman says. “He recognized that for 99% of athletes, it’s very difficult to figure out who represents them and know what they’re involved in. He’s got a great sense of humor, so I didn’t know if he was kidding or not at first. He wasn’t, so we took the plunge and started down the road together.”
Meant to be a free tool that can generate revenue via ads and a paid subscription offering similar to IMDb Pro, Rottman says Online Sports Database is also designed to be a site that will draw traffic and keep visitors browsing on the page.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten lost on IMDb and been on it for 45 minutes because I looked up Jim Carrey and ended up on Barbara Streisand. We want you to get down the rabbit hole,” he says. “While you’re down there, we want you getting the current scores of the games you want to see. As we evolve, we’re going to really individualize this for fans so their favorite teams and players are presented to them right there. We also have a featured player section on the front page to get people clicking on athletes they don’t know about or have only seen once or twice. And as we continue to grow, we will have the in-depth stats that say a Pro-Football-Reference or Pro-Baseball-Reference has. Aaron uses Pro-Football-Reference, and he has always said it’s not user-friendly and it’s very difficult to maneuver and read. It’s just kind of a lot of information thrown at you. We wanted to present it in a friendlier, prettier way.”
With plans to soon offer information about athletes in the NHL, professional soccer, UFC, WNBA, PGA, LPGA, pro cricket and eSports, Rottman and Rodgers want the Online Sports Database to be the second screen fans are looking at when they are watching a sporting event.
“While you and your friends are fighting over the contract of an athlete, you come to us,” Rottman says. “While you’re on that athlete’s profile, you find his contract and then you see he has a rap album. Then it’s ‘Let’s click on this and look it up.’ We want that scenario of the second screen and to tell the stories that the athletes want to tell. The goal is to present to the world who they are more than just a guy who is shooting a basketball, or throwing a football or hitting a tennis ball. We want to tell those stories.”