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Meet the Guy Who’s Renting Jerseys to Fans at the Wild’s Arena

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On Tuesday I ran a post about a photo that showed someone renting Minnesota Wild jerseys out of the back of a truck for $20 apiece outside the team’s arena last Thursday, Oct. 12. It generated a few number of comments, including this one from a reader named Noah:

Hi! I am the owner of the company! It’s called Tarps Off Jersey Rental. Thanks for sharing this article! If you want to do a deeper dive into the specifics, let me know!

I checked out Noah’s website, which shows four Wild jerseys available for rental. Customers can obtain the jerseys from him either in person outside the arena or in advance via delivery. I was intrigued, so I got in touch with him to arrange an interview.

Before I go further, I want to say something about some of the reaction I’ve seen to Noah’s operation: As far as Uni Watch is concerned, there is no “wrong” thing to wear to a game. Wearing an authentic jersey is fine, but wearing a lower-priced replica is also fine, and neither one makes you a “better” or “worse” fan. Same goes for wearing the visiting team’s jersey, or a jersey for a team that isn’t even playing, or a Yankees jersey with an NOB, or a bootleg knock-off, or a DIY jersey, or a suit and tie, or a plain white T-shirt, or whatever. Some people like their game attire to be performative; others don’t. Nothing wrong with either approach. Everyone can wear whatever makes sense to them — and that goes for rental jerseys, too.

All of which is a long way of saying that if renting a jersey isn’t your thing, that’s 100% fine. (It’s not my thing either.) But it’s not cool to judge or ridicule other people who choose to go that route, at least not on Uni Watch, so please don’t do that. Thanks.

Now then: Here’s a transcript of the Zoom interview I did yesterday with Tarps Off honcho Noah Beer, edited for length and clarity.

Uni Watch: Tell me a little bit about yourself. How old are you, and what do you do for a living when you’re not renting jerseys?

Noah Beer: I’m 26 years old, I attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and I graduated from there in 2020 with a computer science degree and an entrepreneurship degree. I did a couple years of corporate work at Optum, in their technology development program. And then after that, I kind of went off on my own. I started a boat-captaining and -licensing company that I did in the summer. And then I went into property services with one of my college roommates. And then this past summer I had the idea that I was going to do this [jersey rentals] as kind of a little hobby business on the side.

Uni Watch: Are you a jersey collector yourself?

NB: I wouldn’t call myself a collector, but I probably have about 15 jerseys. I have maybe 10 for the Wild, a couple for the Twins, and a few others.

UW: How and when did you get the idea to do this rental business?

NB: My friends know that I have those Wild jerseys. With the Wild in the playoffs last year, they played three home games, and every single one of my jerseys was being borrowed by a buddy, or a buddy of a buddy, for those games. So the idea kind of came to me — like, people my age either don’t have jerseys or have outdated jerseys. So if people are asking me to borrow my jerseys, this is possibly an opportunity to make something out of it.

UW: Is there anyone involved in the operation besides you?

NB: I am the whole staff at the moment. I have buddies who are helping me out a bit, but they’re not on the payroll or anything like that.

UW: When did you officially launch?

NB: Last Thursday, at the first home game.

UW: Oh, so that photo I saw was from your first day! You weren’t doing preseason games?

NB: Correct.

Noah’s truck outside the Wild’s home opener on Oct. 12.

UW: When did your website go up?

NB: Over the summer, I think in July.

UW: Who do you envision as your typical customer?

NB: I think there’s a lot of different typical customers, My original vision was people my age who just don’t have jerseys and go to one or two games a year. I think people my age are a lot more likely to rent something if it’s an expensive item. Then there are people who go out to a nice restaurant before the game or a fancy club after the game, and they don’t want to wear a jersey for that. And then there’s the person who attends one or two games a year — they get tickets from work, or a friend asks them to go out one night, but they don’t have a closet full of jerseys.

UW: How much inventory do you currently carry? You offer four different Wild jerseys on your website, but how many of each of those different jerseys do you have on hand?

NB: I have 172 right now — 51 of the green Kaprizov, 51 of the Reverse Retro Kaprizov, 35 of the Reverse Retro Eriksson, and 35 of the green Boldy.

UW: Wow — that’s a lot more than I would have guessed. And I assume that as you go along, you’d like to offer more than just those four options.

NB: Yes, I have a lot of ideas, like adding an alumni collection, adding throwback jerseys. But that’s probably not something that will happen this year. I’m just taking things a step at a time.

Noah Beer (right) and a friend attending a Wild game.

UW: Do you plan to expand into other sports?

NB: Not right away. Assuming things go well, I want to do MLB next summer. And then next winter, I’ll see if I want to add NBA. I don’t see any use in the NFL, because there are only eight home games a year.

UW: Are these authentic jerseys, or replicas, or Chinese knockoffs, or what?

NB: These are replica jerseys. I don’t market them as authentic or anything like that, although I do have plans to offer both at some point in the future. I conducted questionnaires when I was setting things up, and people never seemed to have any interest or need for an authentic jersey, so I went with that.

UW: Oh, so you you did market research ahead of time?

NB: Yeah. Not, like, professional market research, but I talked to people I know, people who are consistent Wild fans, and asked them their thoughts on it. You know, if you saw this service being offered, how much money would you be willing to pay for it? What would you expect the process to be like? That kind of thing.

UW: You did your homework!

NB: I tried to, yeah. I also tried to contact some of the people who’ve run jersey-rental businesses in the past, but I didn’t have any success reaching out to them.

UW: Speaking of those earlier operations, were you surprised to learn this had been tried before?

NB: Yeah. I was a little nervous knowing that it seemed like all these companies had failed. But I also knew that I was going to be doing it differently by renting in person and on-site. Honestly, I originally had no intention of even offering shipping — I only added that option because I saw those other companies had done it, so I figured I’d offer it too. Like, why not?

UW: Has anyone ordered a rental for delivery?

NB: No, not yet.

UW: Where are you sourcing these jerseys from?

NB: DHgate.

UW: And what is your typical unit cost per jersey?

NB: Because I’m buying in bulk, about 40 bucks.

UW: So you can break even if a jersey rents twice.

NB: Yes.

The Tarps Off logo.

UW: What is your total investment so far?

NB: Probably a little under 10 grand. Most of that is for the jerseys [172 jerseys at roughly $40 apiece would be $6,880 — PL], then there’s the fees for the website, and I had to buy the top to put on my truck, I bought a bunch of hangers, stuff like that.

UW: How many jerseys did you rent for that first Wild game on Oct. 12?

NB: We rented 12 that day. It was raining, so I was standing out there under an umbrella — I think we’d do better if it wasn’t raining. Also, I’m going to move to a different location, which I think will work better.

UW: Let’s say I see your truck and I want to rent a jersey. How does that work?

NB: I’m gonna have a QR code up on my sign, so I’d have you scan that QR code, which will pull you up to our website. Then you’d select the date, the jersey you want, the size, all of that. Then you have to sign the terms and conditions, essentially stating that you’re going to return the jersey when the game’s over and return it undamaged, or else you can be charged further. Then you’re prompted to pay for the order with your credit card, you place the order, and I hand you the jersey. You go to the game, hopefully take a couple pictures and enjoy yourself, and then I’ll be at the same location for you to return the jersey on your way out.

UW: How often do you clean or wash the jerseys?

NB: I store all the rented jerseys in a separate area of the truck after the game, and then those all go through the washing machine once the game is over.

UW: So you launder them after each rental.

NB: Yes.

UW: Let’s say I’m wearing one of your rental jerseys and I get a big mustard stain on it, or the guy next to me is drunk and he spills his nachos on me and there’s a cheese stain. Will you charge me for that?

NB: It’s kind of a judgment call. Technically, in the terms and conditions, it says you could be charged for it. But I will do my best to get the stain out myself, or even bring it over to my mom’s house, because she’s a lot better at that than I am. I’ll try not to charge you unless you, like, rip the jersey in half or abuse it in some way, so that there’s no way it can be used again.

UW: For the 12 jerseys you rented last Thursday, did all 12 customers return them in a relatively timely fashion after the game?

NB: Yeah. The last person was probably 20 minutes after the game ended.

UW: What if someone doesn’t bring it back?

NB: I have each customer’s email on file, so I’ll reach out to them first and say, “Hey, did you forget?” And then if I don’t hear back in a day or two, I’ll take it from there.

UW: Do you need any kind of business license or permit to set up shop on the curb like that?

NB: I called the city of St. Paul and tried to explain what I was doing, and they basically said that a food truck can use any metered parking spot on the street, so I should be able to do that too. So from my understanding, no, I don’t need any sort of permit.

UW: A fan buying a particular player’s jersey is taking a risk, because the player could get traded or injured. But now you’re the one taking that risk. Are you worried you could get stuck with a bunch of obsolete jerseys?

NB: I tried to choose players who have no-trade clauses, or who at least are, you know, very much in the team’s plans for the future. But yes, I do understand that crazy things can happen. I can always donate the jerseys and get a tax write-off or whatever, so it’s not like I’d be completely screwed.

UW: Did you consider avoiding that issue by getting jerseys that are blank on the back?

NB: It crossed my mind. But when I asked people about it, they were like, “That’s kind of lame.” I mean, I would never wear jerseys with no name on the back myself.

UW: Are you worried the Wild might steal your idea and do their own rental operation?

NB: I actually tried to partner with the Wild. I asked them, “Hey, can I have a table or booth in the arena?” And they said I need to have a corporate partnership, which costs $100,000 a year, so that was out. Then they offered me their small business program, which would let me use their “Small Business Partner” logo. But that costs $12,500, and the guy I was talking to kinda stopped answering my emails, so I didn’t do that either. So yeah, I’m a little worried that they would use my idea.

The Wild’s “Small Business Partner” logo.

UW: You mentioned that it was raining last Thursday. But in a Minnesota winter, rain could be the least of your concerns. Do you plan to be out there for every home game, no matter what?

NB: I hope so, but we’ll see. Hopefully, I’ll have a heater out there, or maybe a tent. Again, I’ll have to look into what kind of laws there are about that, because that’s a public sidewalk. But if there’s a blizzard, maybe I’ll just, you know, take the night off.


And there you have it.

In case you’re wondering: “Tarps Off” is hockey slang for “shirtless” and is a bit of a thing for the Wild:

Granted, shirtlessness seems like a weird naming principle for a shirt-rental company, but whatever — Noah seems to be having fun with it. I have to say, he was a fun interview, and I admire his approach and his can-do attitude. I’m not a jersey guy myself, but I’m rooting for him to succeed.



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Comments (37)

    Agreed with the sentiment that the name is a bit odd.

    Maybe “Tarps On” would be better? But then again, it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    Thanks for taking the time to meet with me and share this story, Paul! I had a great time doing the interview with you.

    Anyone with further interest, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and follow our social media accounts!

    Phone: 952-373-1623
    Email: link
    Twitter: @TarpsOff_JR
    Instagram: @tarpsoff_jerseyrental
    Facebook: Tarps Off Jersey Rental
    Website: link

    Noah, good luck. Seems like a strong idea. Hope everyone cooperates.

    If players don’t end up staying long, hockey jerseys/sweaters without names on the back and numbers could probably work as well. We see a lot more of those at NHL and MLB games than NFL – come to think of is, I’ve seen only CFL games with fans wearing jerseys without NOB and numbers – or the NBA.

    Paul, thanks for publishing – as always.

    Agree. The nature of baseball and hockey jerseys sort of lend themselves better to an article of clothing a person would wear as opposed to part of a uniform for a team member. Obviously, the numbers being less prominent on the front of the uniform. You could just wear it name and numberless as an article of clothing branded for your team. Same for soccer jerseys, in a perfect world without jersey ads soccer jerseys are really just a shirt with a team logo/crest on the left breast.
    I think I’d be more inclined to buy a hockey jersey without a player designation.

    I think this is a great idea. It costs a fortune to go to a game and jerseys are also super expensive. Maybe you want to rep a brand new player or don’t want to invest in a jersey of a player who gets traded right away? If you can rent them for one night to make your game experience a little more exciting, why not? Tip of the cap to this entrepreneur.

    I stopped reading after he said his supplier was DHGate just after he called them “replicas” when you specifically asked if they were Chinese knock-offs. No judgement at all, I own several DHGate jerseys. I just felt that was strange.

    I agree. It’s essebtially taking advantage of those who don’t “get it”.

    I have a small but quality collection (mostly CCM and college) and once I point out to friends how bad those knock-offs are, I show them how to shop for a quality and affordable jersey.

    Strangely, I’ve heard that DHGate produces better jerseys than Fanatics now. (mostly for NBA and NFL jerseys).

    I think it is interesting that jerseys have become such an industry for attire and sort of qualification for being a big time fan. What about a jersey speaks more to your fandom than a tshirt or another piece of team branded gear? The cost? That it makes you look like part of the team?
    I can remember about 30 years ago in the late 80s / early 90s when I was a kid, jerseys were a bigger deal because they were not as easily available in the retail space as they are now. More from mail order specialty catalogs.
    For me as a kid the jersey was very much more about the player than the team itself. Which is to say I don’t think I would just buy a jersey to support my team, but instead for a player I really loved on my team, like an extra level of support for that player. Today it feels more like “I want a jersey of team X, what player should I pick.”

    Paul, I know that your beat does not focus much on the consumer side of things, but I think this is where having some background on that would have helped.

    You asked if these were Chinese knockoffs, and he gives you a mealy mouthed answer about “replica” v “authentic”, then six questions later when you ask him about his supplier, he gives you a Chinese site that is well known for counterfeits and knockoffs.

    I guess linking to the site itself lets the guy hang himself with his own words, but I expected a little more pushback there, especially when there are ways to buy in bulk through legitimate channels.

    I know that your beat does not focus much on the consumer side of things, but I think this is where having some background on that would have helped.

    Fair point! I had never heard of DHGate before, so it’s not “well known” to me. A gap in my knowledge, for sure!

    I should add, however, that if he said, “These are Chinese knockoffs,” that wouldn’t have changed the rest of the interview from my perspective. I realize the distinction matters to many people, but to me it’s just another polyester shirt. The distinction probably matters less to people who are willing to rent, as well.

    Given the absurd prices for the low quality polyester ones sold today, I am not sure why anyone would care if someone had the Chinese knock off version, especially if was accurately designed. I certainly wouldn’t feel special because I knew the authentic version was from the swoosh.
    And the quality is really an issue. I can remember getting my authentic Marshall Faulk rookie Colts jersey for Christmas in 1994, the difference between that and the replicas was night and day. And still leaps and bounds better than what is produced today as “authentic”.
    When I dig it out of storage from time to time I am still amazed at the quality, It is a little snug, but still fits, and feels like something that could stand up to years of playing football.

    Thanks for the comment on “the rules” as in there are “no rules.” In the end we all have a common love for uniforms and so forth.

    I’m like you PL where I don’t own any team gear. For many reasons too many to list here.

    I’m a minimalist, a small closet and a basic wardrobe. Owning a something like a hockey jersey is out of the picture.

    If I was in Minnesota I’d love to go to a game and rent a jersey, it would make for a great picture in the stands! Great idea for those of us who keep things simple!!

    Go Wild!

    The more I think about this, the more I like the concept. I’m probably not the target market, but I still see the appeal. (I don’t drink, either, but I can understand selling beer at a game.) $20 seems like the perfect price point, too.

    I think there’s some areas to expand, too, especially in the Twin Cities. You’ve got college hockey, the high school tournament. Any international tournaments would be great, since you could have players with local ties (either Wild players or Minnesota-born players) in unusual jerseys that most fans wouldn’t bother buying but might like wearing to a game.

    At any rate, it’s a clever idea. I hope it works out for Noah, and if it doesn’t, I hope it leads him to something else interesting.

    It’s a great idea, but I guarantee somebody in the Wild organization will get wise and decide that he’s cutting into jersey sales and shut him down. That sucks, but it’s reality…

    Especially when it’s made clear here that he’s using unlicensed apparel from a known counterfeiter. I think a middle ground could have been found here between entrepreneur and team, but using unlicensed apparel opens some bad doors. Not to mention that his stock has no re-sale value, if he ever wanted sell used products to upgrade.

    Guy’s got a pretty lassiez-faire attitude toward his business especially with 10 grand already sunk!

    Good luck bud.

    If these were authentics, then maybe this would be cool. But why would anybody rent a knockoff for $20 when they can just buy one for $40?

    Granted, I wouldn’t ever recommend buying a knockoff.

    I agree with your perspective, but this is mostly about convenience. If you get to the game and want to wear a jersey that night, you can’t very well order one off DHGate.

    This was a really fun read! Thanks, Paul, for doing the additional digging on this. And thanks, Noah, for sharing your story! I’m rooting for your success!

    Me being totally guilty of badmouthing the jersey rental concept must admit that I admire Noah’s drive and his talent for spotting a market for his trade. Him being the age of my kids also adds a lot to wishing him the best of luck with his operation. If I was living in the Wild area, however, I would still save money for buying an (overpriced but) official jersey without a player’s name and with my own favorite number (32) and not my name. I cannot even skate. But I do love hockey. Best of luck, Noah!

    Noah’s idea works best for hockey because rinks are (obviously) super chilly, so renting a jersey will keep you warm.

    Not sure I’d want to rent a polyester top for a Twins game during a hot summer day/night.

    I’m going to be all old-man-yelling-at-cloud here and marvel at today’s youths that don’t consider someone who owns 15 jerseys to be a collector.

    I think there’s a lot of awareness now of hardcore collectors – people who own hundreds of jerseys, rare ones, etc. By not calling himself a collector, I think he’s just trying to make sure he’s not labeled as “not really a collector” by the hardcore types.

    Bold move launching a “business” that relies on renting unlicensed counterfeit apparel in-person, down the street from the rightsholder.

    Sorry to burst your bubble Noah, but DH Gate shouldn’t be classified as “replicas”, they’re bootlegs from China. But great idea & a cost-efficient approach to acquiring your merchandise.

    I am sure Paul would be upset if someone was selling unauthorized uni watch branded merchandise. The items being rented are counterfeit. Ethics matter and not when only applied to causes you care about.

Comments are closed.