You know the drill. Fans plunk down big bucks for apparel with a favorite player’s name and number – only to have said favorite depart after one season, leaving behind a stadium full of out of date (though expensive) shirts.
Up until now, that has left two choices: ditch the jersey and pay for another, or wear outdated apparel – and neither option is particularly enticing. But one Pennsylvania-based sporting goods store is offering an innovative new idea – jersey insurance to ensure that expensive fan apparel is always current.
Yep. Jersey insurance. It backs the shirt on your back.
Schuylkill Valley Sports has implemented a program that allows buyers to lay down an extra $10 on a jersey purchase and be guaranteed the right to buy a new jersey (with the new team) for 50 percent off up to 18 months after the initial purchase of the jersey, according to SportsOneSource.
“Player trades, cuts and roster changes made due to the salary cap have become much more frequent in recent years, leaving many fans frustrated and hesitant when deciding what fan gear to purchase for the upcoming season,” according to the Web site. “As exciting as it can be when your favorite team signs a new star player, it’s always disappointing when a fan favorite moves on to another team. Schuylkill Valley Sports is hoping its new NFL jersey insurance program will help fans feel more secure when purchasing a new player jersey.”
If you’d like to keep the old jersey for posterity, you can. The sporting goods store, which has 18 locations in Pennsylvania, says that customers do not need to turn in their original jersey to receive the discount they bought with the $10 insurance payment. Watch out if your favorite retires or leaves a team due to injury, however: the insurance deal only applies if a player is traded or cut.
While it seems a little odd, there’s no doubt that fan gear, particularly NFL fan gear, carries big ticket prices today. Nike, the official brand for NFL team uniforms, recently hiked prices for its higher-end jerseys, hoping fans will cough up over $150 for a "Limited" jersey and $295 for an “Elite” jersey. (Even the low-end jersey will cost fans $100.) These increases are on top of the price hikes that happened in 2012 when Nike took over the NFL contract from Reebok.
At the time, Matt Powell, an analyst for SportsOneSource, told Time that the simple, obvious explanation for Nike’s move was, “When you have a monopoly, you can charge whatever you want.”
Under the circumstances, a $10 fee to ensure a swap doesn’t break the bank may start to seem like a pretty good deal.