New E-Commerce Platform Lets College Athletes Sell Memorabilia, Team Merch and Former Promo Items
We’re not exactly sure what college sports are going to be like this year. The Ivy League already announced that it won’t participate, and it probably won’t be the only conference to say that.
But we can tell you one facet of college sports that’s changing, and it’s something we predicted a while ago. As the regulations surrounding student-athletes profiting from their names and likenesses change, it was pretty much an inevitability that athletes would find a way to sell merchandise even if their schools didn’t.
“I don’t know why we didn’t think of this anytime earlier,” former Michigan basketball player Charles Matthews told WOOD TV.
The Players Trunk co-founder Austin Pomerantz said he saw athletes graduate and sell things like jerseys and shoes on Instagram on their own.
“I’m like, ‘There really needs to be some sort of platform that allows these college students to make money off their gear when they graduate, since they aren’t compensated when they’re in school,” said co-founder Jason Lansing.
On the site, student-athletes who have since graduated can sell some of the promotional items they’ve received during their playing days, like Final Four chairs, which sold for $20,000 on the platform.
“We just felt it’s impossible to replicate that piece,” Pomerantz said.
He’s right. Think about how collectors shell out cash for game-worn jerseys from the pros. People even will spend top dollar on baseball cards with a little shred of fabric from a jersey. Sentimental value sells, and for a long time that was something college athletes had to miss out on completely.
The Players Trunk is set up with each athlete/seller having their own store, so to speak. You click on their "trunk" and see what they're selling from their playing days.
We checked out Matthews' trunk, and in addition to the chair (which is signed) there are warm-up T-shirts he got while playing, sneakers, shorts, jerseys and more.
The two founders got a nice little traffic boost from ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, who tweeted the link out, and brought the site’s customer base from about 60 to 650.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) July 7, 2020
If we had to make another prediction, it's that this is just going to grow as possibly the go-to marketplace for college memorabilia for collectors and student-athletes alike. And there will probably be more like it. As restrictions ease and players can sell T-shirts and jerseys with their names on them and actually see a profit, it’s going to be an incentive for them to create all kinds of merchandise.
It's also going to be a way for former promotional giveaways to find new life. This would include T-shirts from tournaments and events, warmup gear, items like those chairs or even things like water bottles (hopefully not used).
Maybe student-athletes will go through The Players Trunk, or maybe they’ll do it on their own. But this looks like the start of a burgeoning industry.