“This is an unprecedented platform for a new generation of fans,” Phoenix Mercury and Team USA guard Diana Taurasi tells Boardroom.
In 2019, the Wasserman agency announced the formation of The Collective — its division dedicated to enhancing the visibility of women in sports and entertainment. Since its formation, The Collective has assembled an All-Star client list including both today’s biggest names, including Megan Rapinoe and Diana Taurasi, as well as the next generation of talents like Paige Bueckers and Cameron Brink.
The Collective represents a veritable who’s-who of the top talent in women’s sports. And now, fans can own a piece of their favorite stars’ greatest moments thanks to The Collective Marketplace, a new platform offering game-used, autographed apparel and memorabilia.
“Sports enthusiasts have made clear that there’s a demand for this kind of marketplace. That the time is now, which is why I’m thrilled to be an initial partner of The Collective Marketplace. This is an unprecedented platform for a new generation of fans,” Phoenix Mercury and Team USA guard Diana Taurasi told Boardroom.
In partnership with Athlete Direct, The Collective Marketplace seeks to revolutionize the way in which fans establish a connection with their favorite athletes. The marketplace is a response to the current boom in the $15 billion collectibles market, and its creation fills a critical gap for women’s sports in the memorabilia space.
Additionally, it proves a major opportunity in the ongoing battle for equal pay.
“The focus of The Collective has always been to celebrate the truths, moments, and cultural touchpoints that will recognize and elevate the accomplishment of women in sports,” said Thayer Lavielle, EVP, The Collective at Wasserman. “The Collective Marketplace was essential to the celebration and recognition of the memorabilia culture that still connects and secures fandom.
In addition to redefining how fans and athletes interact, it empowers the athletes themselves to have ownership of their memorabilia. Through The Collective Marketplace, athletes have total control over the sale and distribution of authentic game-used, team-issued autographed memorabilia and licensed products commemorating the most exciting moments of their careers.
“The platform is another way for women to take ownership of their businesses away from sport, and we saw an opening in this space to create opportunities for more women,” Lavielle said. “This natural-yet-innovative extension to our purpose paves the way for more connection, fan involvement. and equity in the market.”
The unique model allows athletes to determine the scale, sale, and commercial value of the merchandise — and provides fans with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect directly with the athletes.
From Rapinoe’s USA Soccer jersey from the 2019 World Cup Championship game (complete with official gold FIFA World Cup championship patch) to signed Olympic apparel from the gold medal-winning beach volleyball “A-Team” of Alix Klineman and April Ross, the marketplace boasts some truly powerful pieces of sports history.
And just like the athletes who contributed to the collection, that power is only going to grow.