New York Yankees Hall of Famer Derek Jeter will roll out a digital trading card platform amid a boom in sports collectibles, a Bloomberg report said on Sunday (September 11th).
Called Arena Club, it will provide users with online showrooms for their card collections, allowing them to engage in buying, selling and trading. Cards will be filed and kept in the company vault – members will have digital proof of ownership, allowing for fast transactions and no shipping.
Jeter started working a few years ago alongside Brian Lee, the former CEO of Honest Co. It will launch on Thursday (September 15).
Arena management places great emphasis on the ranking aspect of the business, with cards ranked by quality and condition. A number of companies like Professional Sports Authenticator, Beckett Grading Services and Sportscard Guaranty Co. dominated the space, but Lee said their company wanted to add speed and transparency, using computer vision and l machine learning.
This comes as the collectibles industry is busy, with investors pouring money into the sector as a whole. Numerous startups have sprung up, including Amazon-backed Dibbs and Alt, which raised funds from venture capital firms from NBA star Kevin Durant and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
The boom led sports retailer Fanatics to set up its own trading card operation, and the company bought rival Topps last year. Other deals have also been signed – eBay, for example, recently bought the TCGplayer marketplace.
Fanatics said in March that it wanted to launch a trading card brand that would go beyond sports and into a broader pop culture space, PYMNTS wrote.
Read more: Fanatics enters the collectible card space with the launch of Zerocool
The company wants to strike licensing deals with production studios, musicians and fashion houses, which could help it expand its intellectual property. The company said it likely won’t get into card grading, though it may partner with another company that already does card grading.
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