Endeavor’s IMG Links With EBay on Sports Collectibles, Cards
(Bloomberg) -- Endeavor Group Holdings Inc. is teaming up with EBay Inc. to sell sports memorabilia around a series of live events as the media agency dives deeper into the booming collectibles business.
The partnership revolves around the Mint Collective, an event from Endeavor’s IMG division and memorabilia investing platform Collectable, that’s scheduled for January in Las Vegas. EBay will list unique inventory for the event and the brand has also signed on as a sponsor.
“We plan to work closely with the Mint Collective and become a key marketplace to score exclusive items in the trading cards and sports memorabilia space,” said Nicole Colombo, general manager of collectibles and trading cards at EBay.
Sports collectibles, especially trading cards, have become a wildly popular asset class as investors look for alternative ways to park their cash. Businesses from card-grading services to local hobby shops have benefited from the craze, while new players rush enter the fray.
Endeavor took a big leap into the sports collectibles industry in September when it invested in Fanatics Inc.’s new trading card business. Endeavor joined private equity firm Silver Lake and venture capital firm Insight Partners in a $350 million funding round that valued the business at $10.4 billion, Bloomberg News previously reported.
The new operation, called Fanatics Trading Cards, has signed licensing deals with major sports leagues and players’ unions, ousting longtime incumbents Topps Co. and Panini SpA, and plans to create a one-stop-shop for sports-card collectors.
EBay has played a key role in the sector for decades as the leading secondary marketplace, and the industry is now driving growth in its consumer-to-consumer business, management has said. They’re now courting enthusiasts by offering pricing guides and collection tools.
Chief Executive Officer Jamie Iannone said on a conference call in August that he’s seen “substantial growth” in trading cards, with $2 billion worth of merchandise sold on the site in the first half of the year in North America alone.
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