Mar 16, 2021 - Sports

Exclusive: Fanatics' memorabilia arm partners with 3 Hall of Famers

Joe Montana signing autographs

Joe Montana signing autographs. Courtesy: Fanatics

Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Charles Woodson have joined the growing roster of athletes to exclusively partner with Fanatics Authentic, the online retail giant's collectibles and memorabilia arm.

The state of play: Known primarily for apparel, Fanatics also deals in memorabilia, which occupies an important corner of the exploding sports fandom investing complex.

  • Just like trading cards, the memorabilia industry has expanded considerably in recent years. But it wasn't always so organized.
  • In fact, it still isn't. Just last year the FBI busted a forgery ring with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fake memorabilia.

The big picture: Deals like this hope to change the status quo, as their exclusivity agreements and on-site authenticators provide a similar, forgery-protection service as the blockchain does for NFT's.

What they're saying: "I do a lot of signings, and it's comforting to know, now that this is exclusive with Fanatics, that people can guarantee they're getting legitimate stuff," Montana told Axios.

  • Montana couldn't remember the first autograph he signed; a tacit acknowledgement of how far the industry has come.
  • "Back then, it wasn't as prevalent as it is today. ... Knowing what was going to take place, and what it's turned out to be, I would have paid more attention."

P.S. ... "Joe Cool" estimates he's signed over 100,000 autographs per year since 1981. All those signatures and he still somehow had enough juice left in that hand to win four Super Bowls and two MVPs!

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