If you’re any kind of loyal sports fan, you already know that the official merchandise does not come cheap. An authentic jersey from your favorite team can start at well over $100 and can go as high as $300…or more. You generally don’t wear them all year long, so it’s an expense you have to think twice about. So, many of us wind up buying inferior bootlegs (or just spray painting the word ‘sportsball’ on our shirts if we’re really on a budget).
So. What’s a loyal sports fan to do?
Rep the Squad is here to help. They’re a subscription service that allows their customers to borrow authentic sports jerseys. Their business model borrows from the old Netflix subscription model: for 20 bucks a month, the startup will send you one authentic jersey of your choosing and let you wear it for as long as you’d like. Once you’re done, you send it back, and you’ll get the next one in your queue.
The jerseys will always be 100% authentic and authorized by each respective league – for instance: NBA fans will get the new Nike jersey that comes with a built-in interactive chip. There’s also a youth option for $17 per month, with smaller versions of the same jerseys the big guys get. You won’t get a nasty jersey: All jerseys are also professionally cleaned and inspected before being re-sent out.
And good news for MLB fans: The Seattle-based jersey rental service now offers Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers jerseys, with more MLB teams to be added later this year.
CEO Brian Watkins said to Geekwire “It is about getting counterfeits off the market which helps the players rightfully earn their royalties.” He said counterfeit jerseys are a “massive problem” within the sports merchandise industry. To help identify fake jerseys, the company advises customers to examine color, lettering and logos, interior, tags, and stitching.
And what if you’ve got a closet full of jerseys of players that have been traded, fall out of favor or retire? The company is now aiming to attract new customers by offering membership discounts for used jerseys fans already own, including counterfeit items. After signing up for the trade-in program, members will receive a free subscription for one month — $19.95 — after sending in their old jersey. Rep the Squad will donate any authentic trade-in jerseys to a local charitable program.