For years, Aaron Rodgers kept his life away from football as private as possible. Now the Green Bay Packers quarterback wants to help fans, industry people and potential marketing partners get to know him and his fellow athletes better.
Rodgers has partnered with actor/producer Ryan Rottman to form the website Online Sports Database (OSDB), which debuted this week. They want it to be the sports version of the TV/movie site IMDb.
"We've brought elements of both sides of it -- giving the fan the full picture of who they are and what they're involved with and also on the branding side of what companies they work with and what businesses they're involved in or invested in," Rottman said in an interview with ESPN.com. "To me, the more you know about an athlete, the bigger fan you become, and that's essentially for the fan side what we're trying to do.
"Not only the fan side, but we want to be able to help generate additional [exposure] for these guys. We're not building this for 1 percent; we're building it for the 99 percent who don't get the eyeballs, or people don't know how to get ahold of them for deals where they can endorse, say, the local car dealership in Green Bay."
Rodgers recently concluded a two-week stint as guest host on the game show "Jeopardy!" and has become more comfortable talking about his personal life in public, including his recent engagement to actress Shailene Woodley.
"OSDB is a premiere digital sports database and growing daily," Rodgers said in a statement announcing the website's launch. "At OSDB, you'll find stats, breaking news, human interest stories and personal information on your favorite athletes."
Rottman, who is partnering with Rodgers and ESPN's Desmond Howard on a film called "Work Horses" that details what he called "the injustices of NCAA football," met Rodgers several years ago at a golf tournament in Los Angeles. They hit it off in part because of their shared love of movies. Eventually, Rottman told Rodgers about his idea for OSDB, which was based on his experiences with IMDb while working in Hollywood, and Rodgers wanted in on it.
"We instantly bonded and were shooting movie quotes back and forth to each other," said Rottman, 37, whose IMDb page describes him as an actor and producer known for "The House Bunny" (2008), "The Lying Game" (2011) and "Gigantic" (2010). "After that golf tournament and just hanging out, we became instant friends. It's just great to meet someone like him that's one of the smartest individuals I've met that can really uplift you and inspire you."
Together, they have raised nearly $2.5 million to launch the venture, which is part free and part subscription-based.
On the website, it's described as "a digital sports platform with the most extensive sports information on the web. How much do you really know about your favorite athlete? Do you know their personal interests, business ventures, charities as well as all their stats? Are you a brand looking to get in contact with an [athlete's] agent or manager?"
The site has a way for fans to send emails to the athletes and for companies to reach the players' agents.
It currently profiles players in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball but plans to expand to other team and individual sports.
"One cool thing about sports fans is everyone is looking for something different, and we have everything collectively in one place," Rottman said. "On the player's profile, you'll see their contract details, you'll be able to see their business ventures and really showcase who they are more than just an athlete. You look at Aaron's page, and it's mind-blowing how much he has going on. Steph Curry has production companies. Cole Beasley has a rap album. Thaddeus Young has like 80 different business ventures he's involved in. Cassius Marsh has a card store; he's really big into magic cards and opened his store. Guys have podcasts. That, to me, is what's really engaging. Our next step will be to hyperlink all of that."