By Connie Adair

Sometimes professional athletes are traded and have to find a place to live in a hurry. Or maybe they have just signed a new contract and are looking for another high-end property to add to their collection of houses. Either way, thanks to Athlete Connect, Realtors who want to be athletes’ go-to real estate experts have an easier way to make it on to the pros’ speed dials.

Sports Agent 411’s Athlete Connect is an information portal that provides a way to contact professional athletes through their agents. “Sports agents are liaisons – gatekeepers to professional athletes – so the best way to contact an athlete is through them,” says Sports Agent 411’s general manager Karim Memarian.

Athlete Connect lets members do a search for sports agents by sport, total salaries negotiated, number of clients or geographic region represented. Members can download sports agents’ information to their address book. A reverse search can also be done for athletes by sport, team salaries, earned salary or salary ranking.

The site saves members time by providing all of the update contact information they need in one place, Memarian says.

It took about 18 months to develop the new Internet service. About 70 to 80 per cent of the information is readily available on the Internet, but what Athlete Connect does is aggregate the information and keep the information updated, saving members time.

Information was complied by a network of sports executives and also includes sports agents’ website addresses, contact information and social media sites. Only sports agents who have clients are listed.

A typical scenario would have a real estate agent doing a blanket email or promotion to introduce themselves and their services ahead of time and “plant a seed” so that if an athlete does come to Canada, they have a contact who has experience in the market, Memarian says.

Another scenario would be if a hot player is signed, the real estate sales rep can send a welcome to the neighbourhood email and offer their real estate services and local expertise, he says.

“It’s important to use the entire data base and have access to everyone’s agents (because) you never know what will happen.”

Athletes make a lot of money in a short period of time, Memarian says. “The average annual salary is $1.6-million per athlete on the site, and the site has more than 6,000 athletes. The majority are in the United States and some are in Canada. The database will soon be opening up to the European market.”

Memarian, who is also sports agent and co-founder of the site, says the service has come a long way. “When I created the concept, the list only included the names of agents in baseball, basketball and football with a phone number. There were no websites, emails, fax numbers, mailing addresses or client information. It was strictly a five-page document available in print via regular mail for $89. Now it’s a comprehensive database that lets you search for what you’re looking for.”

Prices start at $3,495 per year.

“The combined annual salaries of all athletes in the database exceed $10 billion per year,” Memarian says. “The return on investment is tremendous for anyone seeking to do business with pro athletes and their agents.”

More enhancements, including a time stamp to indicate modified information, will be available in 2012.

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