Counterfeit Goods Can Lead to Fans Being the Loser at Super Bowl LII

Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day in American pro sports. Whether cheering on the Patriots or the Eagles, or just being a neutral observer, over 110 million Americans are expected to tune in to watch the culmination of the NFL season. In Minneapolis, the site of this year’s game, vendors will be looking to sell memorabilia and apparel to the enthused crowd making their way to US Bank Stadium. One potential trap fans face is counterfeit goods.
Yesterday, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that actions led by Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection had led to the seizure of over 170,000 counterfeit sports related items. The joint effort led to 65 arrests and 24 convictions related to the $15.5 million worth of counterfeits. The actions were part of Operation Team Player, a year-long operation led by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center to tackle counterfeit sports apparel.
Started after the end of last year’s Super Bowl, this year’s Operation Team Player saw arrests rise by 16% compared to last year’s. This highlights not only the long term prevalence of counterfeiters in the sports apparel market, but also continued focus of law enforcement agencies in enforcing intellectual property rights. For fans headed to Sunday’s big game, it’s better to play it safe and purchase from a reputable seller, or else they could be the real losers come the end of the game. 
Photo Credit: Tony Webster