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Website Links Homeowners With Traveling Sports Fans

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Rent Like a Champion
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Looking to rent a house near the Ohio State campus for this weekend's football game against Rutgers? Try rentlikeachampion.com, a site that lets people rent out their homes for traveling sports fans.

But let's face it, some house near big campuses like OSU aren't always in tip-top condition. And what about liability coverage in case rowdy sports fans tear up someone's property? For more on those and other concerns, Steve Brown and Thomas Bradley spoke with the site's CEO, Michael Doyle.

Click the play button below to hear their conversation

The below transcript is a automated transcript of the above conversation. Please excuse minor typos and errors.

Michael Doyle: We're marketing to your case you know die-hard Ohio State Buckeye fans, who we know are coming into town for these big time sporting events. We're marketing to parents of students, who are coming in town for graduation weekends.

We're starting to do some stuff around the Arnold Classic, different things like that. So we're just able to get really, really dialed in with our messaging and get in front of these exact groups who we know are coming into these big time weekends.

Thomas Bradley: Steve and I both went to Ohio State and both lived in off campus housing around Ohio State, and to say that some of it is a little iffy is an understatement. Is there any concerns with marketing these off-campus houses that maybe a student can rent out a room for a weekend and have it been subpar for what people might expect from an Airbnb?

Michael Doyle: Yeah you know it's interesting. I think that's a misconception is that a lot of the homes on our platform are off-campus rentals that are lived in by current students, and that's that's really not the case. We actually have very very few across our platform homes that are lived in by students.

Our properties are usually owned and lived in by professors, graduate students, other university employees. Ninety five percent of our properties are actually primary residences, so it's families who live there 99 percent of the time. And then for a week at a time throughout the year or a weekend at a time excuse me they'll rent it out to the traveling fans.

Steve Brown: And if you're coming in town for a big time college football game you might kind of want to party house Thomas, you might right? I mean you might want to yeah you might want to close the campus be in on the action? How has growth been with your site, are you experiencing growth or are you getting more and more customers?

Michael Doyle: Yeah it's been great. You know we've been partnering with some PGA events to do private home rentals for golfers and caddies. We're starting to do rentals around NASCAR races. Actually this week we have a pretty big group of our customers renting homes up in Minnesota for the Ryder Cup.

So yes short answer is it's been great and I think you know the shark tank effect cannot be under played. I mean that's that's had a lot to do with it. You know appearing on the show just overnight all of a sudden six million people know your name and know who you are. So that's definitely been a big boost to the company.

Steve Brown: How was that experience? Was humbling or how would you describe the shark take experience where you're you guys went in front of the quote unquote sharks the big time CEOs who choose to or not to invest in your company?

Michael Doyle: Yeah, I mean definitely definitely some nerves I think of somebody who goes on the show tells you that they weren't nervous or probably lying because you know it is a bit of a nerve racking experience. 

But all-in-all I mean it was I think one of the most meaningful experiences and the neatest experience I've had both from a career perspective and then also just personally you know got to you know kind of see what goes into making a show like that you get to meet a lot of other really cool companies a lot of entrepreneurs doing great things from around the country.

You know they film big chunks of the season a week at a time. So you're out there filming with 50 or 60 other companies.

Thomas Bradley: We're definitely living in a sharing culture with the VRBO, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft. We're in this kind of startup, sharing age, and one of the biggest issues that people always talk about is the issue of liability with people renting out their homes, renting out their cars, renting out their their vacation homes. How do you guys approach the liability issue?

Michael Doyle: You know we've done a really good job of protecting our homeowners. We have a million dollar insurance policy that we take out on every rental that goes through our site. We have a security deposit that we take out on the renters credit card before they ever step foot in your home.

It's very rare that we have any sort of issues, but with that said we do have these insurance policies in place just to make sure that everyone using the platform feels protected.

Steve Brown: Michael Doyle is the CEO of a rentlikeachampion.com That's a website that lets people rent out their homes to sports fans coming into town from another area. Michael thanks again for your time.

Michael Doyle: Absolutely. Thanks for having me guys I really enjoyed it.