Buying an NFL jersey is often a losing proposition. Because of the nature of modern contracts, a football player almost never stays in the same city for longer than a few years unless he’s the certified face of the franchise. You’re probably safe snagging the jersey of a stud veteran quarterback like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but don’t even think about plunking down $200 for a running back, who could easily be pushed out of town the second he turns 30 or tears an ACL (whichever comes first).
I’ve been burned before. As a diehard Eagles fan, I bought a Kevin Curtis jersey right after he posted a 77-catch, 1,110-yard season in 2007. Two years later, he was off the team. Tempted by Nick Foles’ breakout 27-touchdown, two-interception campaign in 2013, I ponied up for his number 9, only to watch him get traded away in ‘15. I also own L.J. Smith and Ty Detmer jerseys, but please don’t ask me about them. I’m bad at this.
Point is, you have to be absolutely sure of your favorite player’s security before investing in him, and in today’s NFL, there’s no such thing as security. That’s why Rep the Squad is actually a pretty brilliant idea for a business: For a monthly subscription fee ($19.99), you can order any jersey you want and wear it for however long you want. As soon as you send it back, you’ll receive the next one in your queue.
Yes, it’s basically old-school Netflix for jerseys.
According to GeekWire, the Seattle-based startup just raised $1.5 million in funding from multiple VCs and professional athletes, including Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, Lions receiver Golden Tate, Chargers lineman Russell Okung and retired Mariners great Edgar Martinez. For now, the service is starting with jerseys in just three markets—Seattle, San Francisco, and Detroit—but it will soon expand to other cities and other leagues. (Expect to see NBA jerseys this fall.)
Until then, you can choose from regular authentic jerseys manufactured by Nike, as well as throwback jerseys and alternate color schemes. And if you can’t bear to part with your rental jersey after rocking it with pride every Sunday, you have the option to buy it outright.
Just remember to proceed with caution. Baldwin’s Seattle contract, for example, makes it so he could potentially be cut in 2018. Buyer beware.