The NFL, the most popular sports league, and eBay®, the world's largest online trading community, announced today an alliance to create an extensive online trading platform of pro football merchandise and fantasy experiences. The NFL and Players Inc, the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, are working together to authenticate player related merchandise for the online venue.
The items will appear on eBay and will be promoted on NFL.com, the individual team websites and nflplayers.com. The NFL announced that proceeds from the items sold will go to NFL, team and player charities. NFL fans may bid year-round on one-of-a-kind items, such as game-worn merchandise, specially autographed items and fantasy experiences, with access only the NFL and teams have. Recent items include helmets signed by 40 of the 130 living Hall of Fame members, a framed signed letter from Gale Sayers, recounting his career highlights, and a collection of the last ten official Super Bowl programs.
eBay, which has more than 16 million users, will provide the trading platform and on-site promotion, while the NFL will provide the distinct merchandise its millions of fans crave and manage all aspects of fulfillment and customer service.
"We are excited to team with the industry leader, eBay, to provide our fans this new, exciting service," said Chris Russo, the NFL's senior vice president of New Media. "The NFL and team auction sites will provide fans a unique experience with access to items only the league and clubs have."
"NFL's unique and exclusive offerings will bring fans closer to the game via eBay," said Jeff Jordan, general manager, eBay U.S. business. "The extraordinary appeal of the items offered by the NFL and its individual teams will be accessible online to a worldwide audience of eBay users."
"We are excited about teaming up with the NFL and eBay to offer one-of-a-kind items to NFL fans," said Clay Walker, senior vice president of Players Inc.
To ensure the highest quality control standards fans expect from the NFL, the league will have a stringent authenticity policy. The NFL and teams will work with Players Inc. to implement this policy, under which Players Inc. will oversee obtaining all player-related autographed merchandise through witnessed signings and on-site authentication. A NFL certificate of authenticity will be supplied with every auction item. The NFL, its teams and Players Inc. will also enlist the services of respected industry third-party authenticators to provide an additional level of security for buyers.
Items of historical value will continue to go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, but fans can expect to find interesting nostalgia pieces and collectibles. For example, during Pro Football's Greatest Reunion in July, more than 50 Hall of Famers worked with the NFL to create a wide array of unique products, including hand-written letters sharing their thoughts on their most memorable moments in the NFL.
About the NFL The NFL is the leading sports league in new media and marketing. The NFL's new media arm is a pioneer in enhancing fans' enjoyment of the game with cutting-edge technology. In 1995, the NFL was the first league on the Internet with NFL.com and is now easily ranked the most popular sports league site and the third most popular sports site overall behind ESPN.com and CBS Sportsline.com. In 1994, the NFL launched the first satellite sports subscription package, NFL SUNDAY TICKET(TM).
About eBAY eBay (http://www.ebay.com) is the world's largest online trading community. Founded in 1995, eBay created a powerful marketplace for the sale of goods and services by a passionate community of individuals and small businesses. On any given day, there are millions of items listed on the site across thousands of categories. eBay enables trade on a local, national and international basis with local sites in 53 markets in the U.S. and country specific sites in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan and Australia. With the acquisition of Half.com in July 2000, eBay's community now benefits from a marketplace combining traditional auction style trading and Half.com's set-price trading.
About Players Inc Founded by the NFLPA in 1994, Players Inc creates and develops marketing opportunities for current and former NFL players. Representing more than 1,800 active and 3,000 retired NFL players, Players Inc "takes the helmet off the players" giving fans the opportunities to see the players personalities and talents off the field. Players Inc. is involved in licensed merchandise programs, corporate sponsorships and promotions, special events, music and video recordings, as well as television, radio, and Internet (www.nflplayers.com). Players Inc. schedules more than 2,000 NFL player appearances each year.