They’ve been consigned to auction, sold through teams and cut up for use on trading cards. Now, game-worn jerseys will be turned into mass-marketed wearable clothing, with a charitable touch.
Authentic Heroes, a New Jersey-based company owned by Global Fiber Technologies, has developed a process to extract the fibers from player-worn jerseys to create multiple pieces of clothing it will then sell to fans. The company says each jersey will be authenticated before it’s cut up.
Each piece of created clothing sold will be numbered and be accompanied by a UV penlight that highlights the fibers that came from the game jersey. A QR code on the tag registers the item in the company’s online database.
Dubbed “collectable wearables,” the newly-created clothing will include jerseys, hoodies and sweatshirts but other items will also be made.
Authentic Heroes says it has signed a license agreement with talent agency IMG and its Football Greats Alliance, a division that represents retired NFL players.
“We look forward to working with Authentic Heroes to create high-quality memorabilia products that celebrate the game’s icons,” stated Brett Weiss, Director of FGA. “The Authentic Heroes approach to licensed sports merchandise is a new and unique way to make on-field, game worn items accessible to a broader fan base.”
The first player to turn a jersey over to Authentic Heroes was Brett Favre. Next month, a jersey he wore in two games during the 2001 season will be marketed through a video to his 1.5 million followers on social media and through the Authentic Heroes marketing platform.
The company says it also has a deal in place with Jerome Bettis and is working with Warren Sapp, Brian Dawkins and six other former NFL players. Authentic Heroes says it is also “in discussions with many of the IMG/FGA clients and will be in a continual process of signing what could be hundreds of athletes both active and retired from all major sports.” The company is also planning to work with music groups that may be willing to sell show-worn clothing.
The shirts will cost $249 but will be sold via pre-sale in mid-November for $199. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the “Greater Good Fund” which covers health insurance and the welfare of former players active prior to the 1990s.
“Being able to take an ‘event worn’ garment and ‘democratizing’ the market for wearable collectables utilizing our technology while giving back a percentage of sales to a charitable cause is what Authentic Heroes is all about,” Serbiak stated.
About 70-80 percent of the jersey will be utilized in the process of creating the new items. Numbers and other material that can’t be used will be saved for use on other products now in the planning stages including placemats and tote bags.
The company is promising to compete with auction companies in the game-worn memorabilia market by paying athletes and entertainers directly for jerseys or concert-worn clothing they may have in their collections. Authentic Heroes says it plans to take video of the player handing the jersey off to company representatives.
“For athletes and artists alike, we provide a platform for them to receive a substantially greater financial reward for the same garment they would have auctioned just the one time for a single price,” stated Paul Serbiak, CEO of Global Fiber Technologies.
Commissioned artists will help create the clothing, which will be created in a way that will prevent fading should the user decide to wear it rather than display it.