The sports memorabilia market is accelerating


Combining your hobbies with your investments is nothing new. Whether rare books or Bordeaux wines are your bag, there is something appealing about investing your money in something that is not only likely to make a comeback, but that excites you.

What about the coaches? According to one trading platform, the right pair of shoes might even be a smarter investment than the S&P 500, the equity index of top US companies.

The typical investor in the Air Jordan 4 sneaker line has seen an average 100% return on their portfolio since January 2020, according to resale platform StockX. Those who own a blank set of Nike Air Max 1 have seen a 50% return over the same period.

As new generations flock to invest, many find a way to combine their financial efforts with their love of sports, as well as a more general interest in popular culture and street fashion.

“We are seeing a new generation of consumers seeking out non-traditional investment opportunities that are both culturally relevant and financially strong,” says Jesse Einhorn, Senior Economist at StockX.

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“For this generation, participating in today’s culture and creating wealth are two sides of the same coin, which has created an incredible convergence of consumer goods and tradable assets.”

Peter Johnson, of sports memorabilia retailer Firma Stella, said owning rare sporting goods is primarily of interest to avid enthusiasts, but that has changed over the past decade.

“Now it’s kind of a cool industry. You have everyone from the kid who wants a picture of their favorite player for £ 10 to the millionaire business manager who wants a wall of champions in their office. It is thanks to the internet. It brought it to life and brought money.

Mr Johnson, 29, has seen this exponential growth through sales from his own business, with revenues rising from £ 500,000 to one million in the space of a year. The prices of autographed items sold by the company have also skyrocketed.

“Take an England 96 World Cup jersey signed by the team,” he said. “A few years ago it would have been worth £ 2,000. This year we sold one for £ 10,000.

Chelsea FC 2021 Champions League Winners Framed Shirt – Team Signed (Photo: Firma Stella)

There are three key factors that increase the value of an item: a signature, whether it was “worn in a match” by a player and – perhaps most importantly – whether the team won. While many Firma Stella customers are fans who simply shop for gifts or collect memorabilia related to their favorite team, anyone who is serious about making a purchase that will grow in value should consider putting aside their loyalty to the club. and support the winners – at least financially.

The importance of winning major competitions means that the price of items can change as soon as the whistle is blown. The main items Mr Johnson should be looking for this year would be a Chelsea shirt signed by the team that won the club’s second league title at the club, or a Manchester City shirt signed by the winning Premier League side .

The same principle applies in other sports, too.

“I would say football is definitely the most popular sport, but you can invest in all kinds: football, rugby, cricket, Formula 1,” says Johnson. “Or even on a bike, you could get a yellow Tour de France jersey signed by the previous winners.

“You can’t really go wrong if you buy an item signed by someone who has won something. You are going to get good feedback in the future.

The sneaker market is a bit different, with more emphasis on the model’s rarity and freshness. But it has seen similar levels of growth online. Limited edition sneakers from brands like Nike, Adidas, Yeezy and Jordan Brand not only create a shortage that generates value, they create a hype on social media.

While many fans desire the sneakers to wear and show off, others are motivated by the desire to own something of value. A StockX survey found that a third of respondents (36%) cited “future value or investment value” as a key factor when purchasing items.

“Coaches are actually a much more stable and profitable investment than you might think,” says Einhorn. “As long as they’re kept in new and ‘dead’ condition, the resale value of coveted sneakers tends to appreciate steadily over time. There are of course exceptions to the rule. But generally speaking, high demand trainers who trade on StockX tend to gain value over time, just like traditional assets. “

So, what future for these markets? Mr Johnson only sees him growing up. He is currently making plans to launch Firma Stella in the United States, which is a much larger market than the United Kingdom and has particular room for growth as more and more Americans are interested. in football, or “football”.

“It’s huge,” he said. “When we open in the United States, demand will increase. Prices are therefore likely to continue to rise as the internet gives more fans access to memorabilia from all over the world.

This could be good news for anyone with old kit pieces. “If you find a bunch of signed stuff in your loft, you just might be sitting on a gold mine,” says Mr Johnson. He says anything about a winning team, especially if it’s signed or worn by a player, could be worth a pretty penny.

His advice? Do extensive research on the value of items online before you sell them. Make sure you know what it’s worth. The same rule applies to buying something new as an investment: check the credentials of anyone you buy goods from, to make sure they are legitimate.

The same goes for all rare sneakers, with consumers being warned to be on their guard against counterfeits. StockX even expanded its team from four Dedicated Authenticators in 2016 to 300 last year, to ensure that only the real deal gets through its site.

Mr. Einhorn says the most important thing for buyers of trainers to remember is to keep them new and unworn, with the original packaging, if they intend to resell them for a profit.

It also warns that, like any investment, there is risk.

“While you don’t see the kind of wild price swings you see with other non-traditional assets – values ​​tend to appreciate gradually and steadily, and when prices fall, declines tend to be modest. – Trainers run the same risk as all other types of investments, and values ​​can fluctuate depending on a number of factors.

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