Brandon Steiner, the founder of Steiner Sports, has launched another new platform. Officially open for business as of Monday, Athlete Direct puts Steiner into partnership with a variety of athletes and coaches to offer memorabilia to the public.
Among those who have signed on: former New York Rangers stars Mark Messier and Mike Richter, Yankees manager Aaron Boone, retired Mets star David Wright, former Yankee Willie Randolph, ex-NBA stars Walt Frazier, Derrick Coleman and John Starks, women’s basketball greats Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Sklyar Diggins-Smith and Nancy Lieberman and coaches Jim Boeheim, Tom Coughlin and Lou Holtz.
It’s Steiner’s second startup since he was forced out of the company he founded 32 years ago after it was purchased by Fanatics. In December 2019, Steiner launched marketplace CollecibleXchange.com, which offers consignment opportunities for the public for direct sale and auction.
Athlete Direct is being billed as a “one-stop-shop” for current and former sports personalities to sell memorabilia – autographed, game-used and commemorative items – as well as new product lines – directly to their fans. There are also options for collectors to send own items in for autographs as well as experiences for zoom one-on-one meetings or personal greetings.
“This was always the big picture I had in my mind,” says Steiner. “I found that over the years, there was too much of the same thing, hundreds, thousands of balls and jerseys signed by the same player. People bring collections to us, and are disappointed in their value because players just signed so much. Now we are away from the volume and give propriety to high end exclusive stuff; those ‘hard to get,’ cool, pieces. We’re trying to work on not only collectibles but also private items – from exercise machines to skin care products to healthy snacks.”