Pickup-Game Artists

When Nikita Williams, 27, came to Las Vegas from Detroit a few years ago, she was eager to meet people at similar skill levels for her favorite recreational activities: hiking, yoga and bowling.

“Back home … there was always someone to go to these places with,” she says. “[Out here], especially with hiking, you want to kind of make sure you meet up with a girl to do something like that.”

In the past few months, it’s been much easier for her to find fellow enthusiasts, thanks to PlayerSync.com, a website that helps match up folks looking for a game, a hike or a mountainside run.

The site—which hopes to go national but is testing Las Vegas first—helps Williams filter out those looking for a date from those truly passionate about their activity.

“If they’re not really talking about the sport and asking what you’re doing this weekend, you can get the sense of if it’s someone that’s creepy,” she says.

Born out of TennisHabitat.net, a tennis partner matchmaking online tool, PlayerSync embraces about two dozen other sports, including soccer, basketball, softball, flag football, squash, badminton and disc golf. Other social affairs such as ballroom dancing may soon be in the mix. The site not only helps athletes find the right people to play with, but also allows them to coordinate schedules.

And it couldn’t come to Las Vegas at a better time. Men’s Health ranks our city No. 77 in the nation in its list of “Most Active Cities,” a dismal rating for a place with good weather most of the year.

“We want to perfect the model in Vegas,” PlayerSync CEO Scott Giovanni says. “It’s a great town for that, with so many different walks of life and so many different schedules.” About $1 million has been put into PlayerSync with the help of private investors. After months of beta testing and an official August launch, the fledgling service has about 3,000 users in the Valley.

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