With the NBA trade deadline in a little more than two weeks, fans might be afraid to buy the jersey of their favorite player.
Enter Fanatics, the largest seller of jerseys in the U.S. The company announced Monday that it will offer fans a chance to exchange for either the new jersey of their favorite player or to get a different jersey of a player on their team, if the player whose jersey they recently bought gets traded.
Here's how the program works: If a fan buys a jersey on the site within three months of a player leaving that team, the fan has two weeks to make an exchange.
"We found out that 25 percent of fans were worried that the jerseys they purchase will become obsolete," said Chris Orton, co-president of Fanatics' direct-to-consumer business. "So by doing this, this is a major pain point we are solving."
The website goes a step further if the jersey is purchased with an American Express card. In that case, fans can change their jersey if their player leaves within 12 months of the purchase of the jersey.
"This program resonated with us," said Deb Curtis, vice president of experiential marketing and partnerships for American Express. "At the heart of it, buying a jersey is a simple transaction, but it's so much more. What you wear on your body is a reflection of the passion you have for your team. So this is a natural extension for us."
The jersey exchange program also is available on the NBA's online store.
Orton says Fanatics soft-launched the three-month assurance for jerseys of all sports in November during quieter times. When Adrian Peterson was traded from the New Orleans Saints to the Arizona Cardinals, Saints fans participated in the exchange, with most, Orton said, opting to get a new Saints jersey. Fanatics pays the shipping both ways.
Fanatics' guarantee is an answer to a premise behind a company that launched last August. The company, Rep The Squad, announced it would start a jersey rental service for $20 a month.
In the past, teams have offered one-off exchanges in certain situations. In 2013, the New England Patriots allowed anyone who had an Aaron Hernandez jersey to exchange it for a new Patriots jersey.