E Group and Assured Products Group Announce Strategic Partnership to Commercialize Authentication Assurance of Licensed Merchandise for Professional Sports Segment
Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 18, 2012—E Group will partner with Assured Products Group, based in Clearwater, Florida, to bring the technology company’s Authentication and Assurance and Trusted Trade EnvironmentsÔ products to the professional sports markets. The combination of expertise in licensed merchandise, coupled with a comprehensive assurance program will reduce grey-market and counterfeit in a marketplace riddled with fraud.
“Our clients deal with millions of pieces of merchandise, many produced overseas, all with high real and collector value,” said Steve Waletzko, Vice President Sales E Group, Inc. “In sponsorship and pro sports marketing, autographed, limited edition items represent a significant sum in primary and secondary sales; having authentic merchandise can mean the difference between trash and treasure,” added Waletzko.
As with any intellectual property, the authenticity of an item also impacts who earns revenue when an item is sold. “No one can argue against the athletes and organizations, who own the brands, deserve compensation for things which bear their image or name,” said Waletzko. Counterfeit items steal real dollars from people—billions each year according to the US Justice Department.
“E Group has extensive expertise and reach into the pro-sports world,” said James Chester, CEO of Assured Products Group. “The work that E Group does in NASCAR, NHL and the MLB can benefit from reducing counterfeit merchandise. That ultimately protects the brand value of their customers, the sports teams and the fans who spend millions on merchandise.”
E Group and Assured Products Group will work together to bring the unique authentication products to professional sports teams, sponsors and manufacturers. “Our customers come to us for better ways to help the fans get real value; this partnership helps us deliver on that,” said Waletzko. “Stemming counterfeit production and sales also helps the economy and can preserve US jobs, for those items made in the United States.
About E Group
E Group is a full-service marketing agency, with a niche position in promotional, loyalty and sports marketing. E Group collaborates with clients to help them create successful, industry-leading programs for consumers, employees and/or channel partners. As an official NASCAR promotional licensee, E Group works with sponsors, vendors and driver teams to maximize their promotional investment. E Group is headquartered in Minneapolis; its home page is www.egroupnet.com.
About Assured Products Group
Assured Products Group delivers business value through product centricity to meet the demands of multi-source, multi-national supply chains. We deliver specific consulting, sourcing, and software solutions to improve brand value from concept through consumption.