Rent Like a Carving Champion Niche as an Airbnb from Sports World

FLIGHT. 11 | NO. 3 | Saturday 20 January 2018

Great business ideas can happen anywhere. It happened in 2006 in South Bend, Indiana, where three Notre Dame students listed a vacant apartment on Craigslist and eBay as a weekend rental for football games.

This was the start of what would become Rent Like a Champion. Jordan Curnes, Drew Mitchell and Derrick Shenk had exploited the zeal of sports fans and the need for accommodation in college towns that lack enough motels and hotels to withstand the onslaught of fans on weekends. football ends.

Today, not only has Rent Like a Champion expanded its college football market – it’s in over 20 college towns – but it has added this year’s PGA Tour, NASCAR events, and Super Bowl to its lineup.

The company first worked with a PGA Tour event in 2016, forming a partnership with the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois. Rent Like a Champion has competed in several PGA Tour events over the past year and this year has entered into a deal with the FedEx St. Jude Classic, which will take place at TPC Southwind from June 7-10, with associated events taking place. the whole week.

Rent Like a Champion offers rentals for college football weekends, PGA Tour events, and NASCAR races. This year he will work with the FedEx St. Jude Classic to provide private residences for golfers and sponsors. (Memphis / Brandon Dahlberg News File)

Mike Doyle, CEO of Rent Like a Champion, says the company already has five homes listed on its site for this year’s FESJC ([email protected] for details on any event, including FESJC).

“For most PGA events, when we’re like four to six weeks, we want to have 20 to 25 homes listed on the site,” Doyle said. “It gives golfers and sponsors good options – big enough homes with amenities and within their budget.”

Darrell Smith, FESJC Tournament Director, said: “It’s no secret that we have been able to provide private homes for TPC Southwind players. But (Rent Like a Champion) has a system that works. This allows our staff to focus on other things in which we are experts. In addition, some of these players may already rent from Rent Like a Champion ”at other stops on the tour.

As the business grows with golf, Doyle says college football is its “bread and butter”. Among the markets where they have a strong footprint: Auburn and Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Oxford, Mississippi; Athens, Georgia; Colombia, Missouri; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Clemson, South Carolina; and State College, Pennsylvania.

“When we first started, the concept of leasing to strangers was alien,” Doyle said. “Airbnb is a big company that people have heard of, and to be honest, it’s sort of a standardized rental to strangers. We can make a difference from five years ago.

College football is a great fit, Doyle says, because fans are passionate and willing to travel and because it is often a “joint” event with groups of friends or many family members making the trip.

“A lot of times it’s like a mini-meeting,” he said. “The parents meet the kids, they bring the grandchildren, and you have eight or nine people in the house instead of being split into three or four hotel rooms and not spending a lot of time together.”

When Rent Like a Champion enters a new market, staff attempt to develop inventory within a 5-10 mile radius of the event location. For PGA Tour events, in particular, the closer it is, the better. The homes of TPC Southwind fit perfectly into this model.

“If you can literally take a golf cart to the clubhouse to start the day, that’s really appealing,” Doyle said.

The company has no formal relationship with NASCAR, but is making inroads into the markets of Talladega, Alabama; Bristol, Tennessee; and around the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

Another target audience is youth sports tournaments: competitive baseball and softball teams and the families that support them. The company is just starting to reach these markets.

Considering this year’s Super Bowl set in Minneapolis, Rent Like a Champion had a head start on the house and apartment compilation, as it featured ads in the area for the 2016 Ryder Cup. People who had previously rented the house are re-offering the houses for the Super Bowl.

“Even in college football we have a lot of room to grow,” said Doyle. “Lots of Big 12 and Pac-12 areas that we haven’t hit yet. And there is still a lot of green space with the PGA.

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