Playeasy is about to turn 3.
It’s a birthday we weren’t sure we would be celebrating a year ago. The pandemic had just brought the entire sports industry to a screeching halt, and our athletic facility rental platform was left with no way to generate revenue. As reality set in, the future of our company was anything but clear.
Our team officially came together in May of 2018, when we collectively decided to build the “Airbnb” for sports facilities. After struggling to find and book athletic space for our own sporting events, we worked to replace an antiquated system of Google searches, emails, and phone calls with a web-based platform to connect teams of people who wanted to run or participate in any type of sporting event anywhere in the US. We started to get some good traction with sports facilities and event organizations needing facilities, but we found that our target market presented a lot of marketing and setup challenges that made us question our approach.
It was at the end of year one that we accepted an invitation to join Techstars – the first ever sports accelerator to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana. We believed it would be the best place for our team to grow. We would be able to learn from industry players in a city that had transformed itself into the US standard for running high profile sporting events. Techstars helped to broaden our core vision from being a sports facility booking system to a digital sporting event network connecting event holders, destinations, and facilities. After three months of living in Indianapolis, we presented our vision at Demo Day at the NCAA Headquarters. We went into Techstars with a goal of being the best sports facility booking platform in the US, and we left with a vision of becoming the premier digital sporting event & tourism network.
Like the rest of the world, our game plan changed in March 2020. We were weeks away from our latest platform launch when the sporting event industry was brought to a screeching halt. As athletes, we were accustomed to having to change up the game plan and find ways to adapt. We were excited about our new vision and we were determined to bring it to fruition.
It was around this time that our partners at Team Indiana reached out to ask if we could help them take inventory of the athletic space they had across all of the counties in Indiana. The pandemic had forced them to cancel their spring sporting events, and they were doing everything they could to reschedule those events within the state of Indiana – which we all thought at the time would be just a couple months later. They didn’t have an efficient way to manage the facilities across the state and collaborate with event organizers to schedule their events. We concluded that, with a few changes to our product, we could provide a great solution – and we went all-in on working with them to adapt the Playeasy platform to help address their needs.
Fast forward a year later – We’re now working with over 300 event organizers, 450 cities/ counties and over 10,000 facilities that were all looking to solve the same challenges Indiana was. We’re now also strategic partners with the Sports Tourism & Events Association, which has been the industries trusted trade association for the last 20+ years.
What brought us together was the goal of making it easy to find space for our own events. What has kept us together, and what has kept us moving forward when all odds were against us, was a greater vision of providing a digital platform for the sporting event industry to find, connect and communicate with each-other.
The season’s not over. We have a lot of work to do, but we’re excited to continue to learn, grow, and adapt. We’re so grateful to Indiana Sports Corp, Techstars, Sports ETA, and all of the great destinations and event organizers that we’ve worked with over the past year to help get Playeasy off the ground. This year has reminded us of the same lessons we learned through sports – the importance of teamwork, sacrifice, refusing to lose, resilience… It’s what we learned in sports, and it’s the reason we’ll be celebrating Playeasy’s 3rd birthday in 2021.
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