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MLB Jumps Into Showbiz Memorabilia Authentication

Major League Baseball’s Authenticators is joining with Topps and Disney’s Lucasfilm to create a website that will insure that when fans buy autographed Star Wars memorabilia, the stars signatures are verified.

The move follows the launch of the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One, which generated $155 million in box office sales.

The venture could turn authenticating props and autographs from movies and TV shows into another money maker for baseball. Baseball sold a stake in its technology company BAMTech for $1 billion to Disney earlier this year.

A new website, Starwarsauthentics.com, will enable Star Wars fans to order official photos and autographs from Lucasfilm’s huge library. The photos will be printed by Topps’ technology.

Autographs will be witnessed by a representative of Authenticators, who attaches a tamper-proof hologram to each photo.

Authenticators was originally built by the MLB Authentication program to verify athletes’ signatures.

“We identified a hole in the entertainment industry, a need for certified authentic pieces for the Star Wars brand, and with this collaboration we are able to meet consumer demand. Topps excels in visual arts and printing technologies and we are thrilled to bring our expertise to StarWars, building upon our trading card and Major League Baseball memorabilia business,” said David Leiner, general manager and VP of the North American Sports and Entertainment division at Topps.

Star Wars actors signing photos exclusively at Starwarsauthentics.com include John Boyega and Felicity Jones. Also available on the site are items signed by Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed and Donnie Yen of Rogue One.

“A quality, authentic experience is something we always strive to deliver for our fans,” said Paul Southern, senior VP of Star Wars licensing at Disney Consumer Products. “This new program will allow us to provide Star Wars fans with access to autographs of their favorite talent from a galaxy far, far away that are completely verified and authentic.”

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.