EBay has teamed up with Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Prova Group to authenticate sports memorabilia, the platform announced on Friday.
Sellers on the marketplace will be able to use the Prova Group's verification service to confirm the authenticity of goods. Authenticated items will receive a Prova SmarTag, which is provided by a company team member and linked to a document of authenticity, according to the company statement.
With the tag, sellers can track their memorabilia through the Legit by Prova app and share the authenticity of the item with others, per the company statement.
To launch the partnership, eBay and Prova Group are selling a curated collection of verified items ranging from trading cards and limited edition coins to game-issued helmets from Smith's collection. Smith hosted a virtual meet-and-greet on Aug. 2 via his mobile events platform, Notable Live, to answer customer questions and offer up more merchandise to bid on. Livestreaming has been gaining steam for some time, but the tool has particularly picked up among retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As a preferred shopping destination for collectors of sports memorabilia looking for a wide variety of rare and desirable inventory, it's incredibly important to eBay that we can verify those items are legitimate," Steve Halupka, vertical manager of Sports Memorabilia at eBay, said in a statement.
Retailers have been fighting the counterfeit goods market for a while. Companies like eBay, Ralph Lauren and Amazon, among others, have implemented measures to prevent the sale of fake goods. Despite efforts to address the issue, some companies, including The RealReal and Amazon, have been criticized for the alleged sale of counterfeit goods on their platforms.
Brands and retailers have responded to the counterfeit sales problem differently. Ikea and Nike, for example, have pulled their products from Amazon. Others have pursued partnerships to address issues. Amazon and Valentino joined forces in court to crack down on alleged counterfeit sales, and Burberry and The RealReal piloted a luxury resale partnership. Amazon, which recently launched live video calls to verify its sellers' identification, just last week had to respond to questions from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee on the sale of fake or stolen goods via its marketplace.