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TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: Would you pay $20 per month to rent sports jerseys?
That’s the big question for Rep the Squad, a new Seattle startup that charges customers a monthly subscription fee to receive selected jerseys in the mail, one at a time.
I just tested the service earlier this month. The experience was pretty seamless, and it was awesome rocking a fresh Earl Thomas jersey in Los Angeles for the Seahawks vs. Rams game.
When you're done wearing a jersey, you can return it and receive a different one as long as you maintain your subscription. It’s much like renting Netflix DVDs back in the day, and follows a similar business model to that of heavily-funded clothing startups like Rent the Runway.
The main concern for many folks is the cleanliness of the jerseys '” after all, going to a sporting event can involve a lot of sweat and nasty mustard stains.
But my jersey arrived spotless and smelling like fresh laundry. I also had a chance to tour Rep the Squad’s facility in Seattle, where I watched how they thoroughly clean each jersey and ship them back out to customers daily.
It’s unclear if Rep the Squad can build a big business around this idea. The monthly fee is another question mark '” is it better to pay more than $100 for permanent ownership of one jersey, or $20 per month to rent multiple ones over the course of a season?
Rep the Squad is already expanding to NBA jerseys next month, with MLB coming soon. The startup is also backed by some big-name investors. Check out photos of the HQ my full experience recap here.