The National Football League’s players moved another step closer to controlling their own autographs, NFL team jerseys and other memorabilia on Wednesday with the NFLPA’s launch of NFLPA Shop, a new online store featuring authentic merchandise of more than 1,800 NFL players. NFLPA Shop is now the first retailer to give fans the choice to own on-demand licensed apparel of every NFL player, not just stars.
The launch of the NFLPA’s new online shop is based on a multi-phase approach heading into the start of the 2012 NFL season. The first phase is focused on retail e-commerce and providing customers with a streamlined product search while the next phase will highlight player-driven autographed memorabilia. The final phase will emphasize site enhancements and new player products available on-demand.
The move seems to put the league in competition with the union for sales revenue from online shopping. It also means players will have a new outlet to directly sell their own autographs through the shop, and promote them via social media and other outlets. Players can decide where the money goes and will get the lions’ share of the royalties less licensing fees and a small cut taken by NFL Players Inc. Some may also use it as a way to raise money for their favorite charities.
However, while the arrangement isn’t clear, many of the signed items offered come with authenticity from dealers such as Mounted Memories, which already sell on their own online stores.
Over 470 autographed photos were offered at the NFLPA’s online shop when the store launched including 8x10s of Peyton Manning ($258), Eli Manning ($173), Larry Fitzgerald ($106), Mark Ingram ($178) and Aaron Rodgers ($304). There were over 225 signed helmets and nearly 100 signed jerseys. Those numbers will likely grow by the start of the 2012 season.
“NFLPA Shop taps into the tremendous popularity of our sport and strong demand for authentic player merchandise,” said Kathie Vu, vice president of licensing and business development for NFL PLAYERS, Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “From jerseys to collectibles to exclusive player apparel and autographed memorabilia, fans can now find officially licensed products for all their favorite NFL players.”
Consumers of the NFLPA’s official online store will also see apparel, headwear, gifts, novelties, home decor and other items.
“NFLPA Shop gives fans an actual choice to own official gear of any NFL player,” said Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. “I’m excited that this site gives my fans easier access to my autographed memorabilia.”