In keeping with the wave of internet businesses that take aim at pesky middlemen, an Israeli former basketball coach, sports agent, and military investigator is scheming to cut players’ agents out of professional sports.
Roe Stimler’s startup, SportJobz.com, fashions itself as a LinkedIn for athletes, connecting team recruiters around the world with players (right now the focus is on basketball players) via free profiles on a social network. While talent scouts were roving around Las Vegas in search of the next big thing at the National Basketball Association’s summer league, Stimler was on the hunt for international teams and free agents a cut below NBA-grade, Bloomberg recently reported in a lengthy article about his business.
Athletes can upload their resumes onto the site, along with their college or pro statistics and videos showcasing their skills. ”Our goal is to enable the players to be proactive about their experience, not to be managed by other people,” Stimler tells Quartz.
Stimler, who spent two years as a basketball coach and another as a sports agent in Israel, noticed early in his stint in the business that young, less experienced players were getting a shoddy deal by hiring professional agents, who often take up to a 4% cut of a player’s yearly earnings.
While that doesn’t phase high-profile NBA (National Basketball Association) stars like Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant who make tens of millions of dollars a year, less sought-after players are often not considered worth the effort for industry agents. That leaves younger, less experienced players without the negotiating prowess or information needed to work out contracts with teams on their own.
The target audience for SportJobz is young, midlevel players coming out of American colleges—90% of the network’s 3,000 athletes on the site so far are from the US. Many hope to be matched with teams in less prestigious leagues overseas. More than 200 teams have signed up for the service in hopes of finding new talent.
Stimler and his cofounder Lior Broshi, who officially launched the service last year, have yet to charge players or teams for using the site. But eventually the site will go the way of LinkedIn, he says, charging premium subscriptions for the teams that want to dive deeper into the site’s database and self-promoting athletes who are willing to pay for top billing on the site.