Amanda McGrew is a former college basketball player, turned PE teacher, and basketball coach.
In December 2017, she founded Playoff Dating App - a dating app for current and former college and professional athletes. Playoff has proven to be an incredibly rewarding way for her to connect like-minded people who have a major shared life experience.
"Playoff can help connect millions of athletes from around the world
with one another."
I created Playoff with the idea that dating someone with a shared, unique life experience can be incredibly special. I wanted to create a platform where like-minded people could easily find one another and create lasting relationships. As a former college basketball player, athletics has played a huge role in my development as a person. My athletic career has been a major influence on the way I handle problems, form relationships, or make decisions. The idea of finding and connecting people who share that perspective and mentality is incredibly exciting to me!
Being a high-level, competitive athlete is an unbelievable accomplishment and an experience that shapes the rest of your life. Collegiate and professional athletes have invested thousands of hours of hard work and practice into their sport(s). Whether you are still an athlete or not, dating someone who can understand that perspective and has that shared life experience is invaluable.
Questions for Amanda McGrew
TCB: Amanda, as a former College Basketball player and current PE Teacher/Basketball Coach, you came up with the idea of a dating app for athletes. How did this come about?
AM: I was back home in LA, teaching PE and coaching basketball and my life was incredibly busy. I started using some of the more generic online dating apps and was not having any luck. I knew there were plenty of niche apps out there, but I did not identify with any of those groups. I just sat back and thought one day, "what group of people do I identify with the most?" The answer was and always will be athletes. I decided to research the idea and see if it already existed, and once I realized it did not exist, I decided to create it!
TCB: What is the feedback you're getting from users of the app?
AM: The feedback that I am receiving about Playoff is incredibly positive. It is truly what keeps me going every day. Reading athletes' responses to my messages has been so encouraging. I don't think any athlete has ever responded with any sort of negative feedback. Athletes tell me how awesome the idea is and that they would be thrilled to share it with their teammates. Even if someone responds by saying that they are married or in a relationship, they have always first shared that they are incredibly supportive of the idea and would happily share with other single athletes.
TCB: What are users getting for $7.99 a month that they are not getting in the free version?
AM: The premium version of the app allows users to see a list of the athletes who have already "liked" them. It also shows a list of athletes they have already "benched" and allows them to go back to those users if they want. They are also able to use some added filters for schools and sports and change their location and find users in other areas.
TCB: What sports are being represented in your app? Is tennis among them?
AM: Yes, tennis is definitely represented on Playoff! Our list of sports includes all college and Olympic sports. The list has grown since Playoff first launched and we think we have a pretty solid list, but we are always willing to add more sports if needed!
TCB: If tennis-teaching professionals want to sign up with your app, even if they didn't play college tennis, could they do that?
AM: As of right now, tennis professionals who did not play in college would not be able to sign up for Playoff. Because our athlete verification process is really the only thing that separates Playoff from any other generic dating app, I am making sure to keep the integrity of the app intact. The goal is to eventually open it up to more recreational athletes, or athletes who cannot verify their athletic experience on the internet, but I feel like that is only possible once Playoff gains enough users and awareness.
TCB: How is a user notified that there is a match? Can they browse potential matches?
AM: If two people "like" each other, then they are both notified that they have matched with one another. At that point, either one of them can start a conversation and that new match goes into the user's Chatlist. In their chatlist, they can scroll through and have conversations with any of their matches at any time. On the main search page, the user is able to go through potential matches, one at a time, and either "play" or "bench" them. If they have the premium version, they would be able to see a list of users who have already liked them, as well as a list of users they have already benched.
"The biggest goal in the near future is for Playoff to make its way
into the Olympic Village in Tokyo next summer!"
TCB: Are users limited to the United States or is the app truly international? If yes, how do you verify the history of an athlete from e.g. Estonia?
AM: Playoff is available internationally, but most users are currently in North America. As of right now, the few thousand users outside of the US have been easily able to submit a link to their athletic bio, so that has not been a problem at all.
TCB: Do you reject athletes after they provided the required information?
AM: Athletes have to submit a picture of themselves along with a link to an athletic bio that proves that they competed at the junior college, college, professional or Olympic level. Once they submit that information, if I see that it is not sufficient and cannot be verified, they are notified and asked to email us if they think there has been some sort of mistake so that we can sort it out.
TCB: What are your future plans? You are potentially creating a very large database of a group of people. How can you maximize the efforts?
AM: The plan is to get as many current and former athletes on the platform as possible as quickly as possible. I believe so strongly that Playoff can help connect millions of athletes from around the world with one another. I think it is so special to know that they have a space to find other like-minded people with similar mindsets and perspectives. As of right now, word of mouth has been the most incredible form of growth for Playoff. The biggest goal in the near future is for Playoff to make its way into the Olympic Village in Tokyo next summer! I cannot wait to see Playoff reach its full potential and I will keep pushing until I get it there.
TCB: Thank you, Amanda.