MVP.com is Founded

Like Planet Hollywood and Flooz.com, MVP.com proved that celebrity endorsements are worth nothing in the long run.

Backed by sports greats John Elway, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky and $65 million, MVP sold sporting goods online. Founded in 1999, the company grew to more than 150 employees, but a high-profile partnership came to be a liability. A few months after its launch, MVP.com entered into an $85 million, four-year agreement with CBS in which the network would provide advertising in exchange for an equity stake in the e-tailer. Yet barely a year later, CBS and its online affiliate SportsLine.com killed the agreement because MVP.com failed to pay the network an agreed-upon $10 million per year. The game was over for MVP.com soon afterward, and SportsLine took over the domain.

There were several items I was surprised to find MVP did not carry. Snow ski boots and a bike/ski rack for my truck are high on my wish list. However, neither was available. But, MVP says that, unlike brick-and-mortar stores, the site offers seasonal items year-round. I agree, there’s no point in looking for size-12 cleats at my local superstore in January.

Without objects to hold and smell (ahh, glove leather) becoming an abandon-cart statistic was easy (which made my wife happy). I’m unlikely to walk out of a store with a $300 bat, but I could come easily away with a $20 hockey stick for the upcoming roller hockey season (which would have made my wife unhappy). Overall, MVP’s brands and selection are above average, but their A-game is played in the content arena.