For a die-hard sports aficionado, few things would come close to the thrill of owning the bat with which Sachin played his hundredth 100, or wearing Mike Tyson’s undefeatable gloves that won him worldwide glory. Now, Collectabillia (.com), a newly launched website, promises to make these dreams come true by bridging the gap between fans and sports stars they look up to.
“We are the first celebrity-commerce company in India, and what we do is rather simple. We acquire merchandise from well-known sports people across the world and bring it all to fans through our online portal,” says 24 year-old Anjana Reddy, managing director of Universal Sportsbiz, the company that hosts Collectabillia under its wing.
Reddy came up with this idea when she was studying in the US in 2011. “Two years ago, I was in the mid-west of America where American football is a craze and people are really into acquiring merchandise of their favourite players. So, I thought, in India, where cricket is religion, why isn’t the same service available to fans?” says Reddy.
After much research, Reddy launched Collectabillia on December 20, 2012. Reddy says it took her two years to bring some of the biggest names on this website. Collectabillia’s repository of sports merchandise includes jerseys and kits that are available for sale online at a fixed price.
Sports stars such as Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza lend their support to the site; and international football merchandise associated with the legend Pele, English footballers Wayne Rooney and Steve Gerrard, Brazilian sensation Kaka, and UEFA Euro top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo have also made it to the list. The awe-inspiring collection also comprises items autographed by tennis stars Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, golf legend Tiger Woods, swimmer Michael Phelps and celebrated F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
Collectabillia aims to encourage the collection of memorabilia along the same lines as that of art, numismatics and philately, while educating people on the benefits of collecting valuables as an investment.
“We have had 60,000 page views yet and have done business worth Rs2 lakh,” says an excited Reddy over the phone from Banglore. The price of merchandise ranges from Rs600 to Rs16 lakh, and Reddy promises to make it even more reasonable. “After conducting market surveys, we learnt that there is a demand for goods that are cheaper, so, over the next quarter, we plan to introduce merchandise from Rs100 onwards,” she says. Her future plans also include involvement of celebrities from the entertainment industry.