NFL Intensifies Crackdown, Nets $13.6M Worth of Fake Merchandise
New York, NY
The NFL's crackdown on fake merchandise dubbed "Operation Red Zone" has netted a record $13.6 million worth of counterfeit products nationwide with the help of several law enforcement agencies.
Part of the amount included 226 boxes of 4,016 counterfeit jerseys and 160,000 Super Bowl-related pieces of memorabilia seized in Warwick, Rhode Island by combined forces from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
"Organized criminals are preying on that excitement, ripping consumers off with counterfeit merchandise and stealing from the American businesses who have worked hard to build a trusted brand," ICE director John Morton said in a statement.
Morton added the sale of counterfeit jerseys and other sports items undermines the legitimate economy, takes jobs away from Americans, and fuels crime overseas.
"No good comes of counterfeiting American products -- whether NFL jerseys, airbags, or pharmaceuticals -- and we must go after the criminals behind it," he added.
However, authorities should do more as ESPN's "Outside The Lines" reported that counterfeit products directly go to consumers via websites, mostly coming out of China.
"If you were to say who is our largest competitor, I would say counterfeit," Jamie Davis, president of Fanatics, one of the largest online sports retailers, told "Outside the Lines."
The company, which runs many official online stores, estimates that it will earn $1 billion this year.
However, counterfeiters have dropped their prices to compete with high value of original jerseys. A knockoff of a stitched official Nike jersey that retails for $135 could be bought online for $20 and often includes free air shipping from Asia.
Davis said counterfeiters often use the same pictures to mislead consumers but there could be problems when fans get the fake merchandise, including misspellings to loose stitches to colors that fade with a single wash.
The NFL has shut down down an astounding 4,200 websites this season but it didn't stop all those businesses.
"It's a big game of Whack-A-Mole, where we try to go after counterfeiters and they pop up somewhere else," said Anastasia Danias, the NFL's vice president of legal affairs.
Eric Feinberg, founder of the consumer advocacy group FAKE of Fans Against Kounterfeit Enterprise", said after sites are disabled, they pop up in as soon as 48 hours, adding a word -- or even just a couple of letters -- to the old website address.
Feinberg also said that the businesses are even harder to track down because domain names are often registered to fake addresses, and domain registry sites continue to sell what the counterfeiters want.
Nike, for its part, said it is doing all it can to protect the company, retailers and fans against counterfeiters.
"We believe that we make the best product for every stage of the game," Nike spokesman Kejuan Wilkins said. "NFL fans deserve the same level of design and execution as the pros."
Investigators have confiscated more than $13.6 million worth of phony sports merchandise over the past five months and expect to seize more in New Orleans during Super Bowl week
NFL Intensifies Crackdown, Nets $13.6M Worth of Fake Merchandise
- Michael Vick Agrees to One-Year Restructured Deal with Eagles
- Newly Installed Device Blamed for Superdome Power Outage
- Eagles Plan to Keep Quarterback Michael Vick for Now
- Giants Waive Bradshaw and Canty to Clear Cap Space
- Ex-Saints Assistant Gregg Williams Reinstated, Joins Titans Coaching Staff
- Vikings RB Adrian Peterson Undergoes Surgery for Sports Hernia
- Ravens Celebrate Super Bowl XLVII Victory with Parade
- If Selected, Santa Clara Assures Power-Outage Free Super Bowl 50
- Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker Carry Ravens Past 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII
- Super Bowl XLVII Game Summary
- Flacco Named Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player
- Jacoby Jones Has Record Night in Hometown Super Bowl
- Harbaugh: We've Got Resolve, That's Why We Won
- Super Bowl XLVII Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh Post-Game Comments
- 49ers Coach: 'It Was a Heck of a Football Game'
- 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Post-Game Comments
- Super Bowl XLVII MVP Flacco: It's Pretty Cool
- Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco Post-Game Interview
- Ravens QB Joe Flacco Caught Swearing on TV During Super Bowl Celebration
- Ravens John Harbaugh on the Turning Point of Super Bowl XLVII
- Video: Half of Super Dome Loses Power!
- Top Super Bowl XLVII Ads
- Unsung Heroes: Super Bowl XLVII
- Big-Time Moments from Super Bowl XLVII
- Playboy Super Bowl Party
- USA Today Picks Best Super Bowl XLVII Ads
- Super Bowl XLVII Commercials: Samsung - Rudd vs Rogen
- Super Bowl XLVII Commercials: Tide's Joe Montana Miracle Stain
- Go Daddy: 'The Kiss' Super Bowl XLVII TV Commercial
- Beyonce Reunites with Destiny's Child During Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Performance
- Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys Tweet About Super Bowl XLVII Performance
- Super Bowl XLVII: Records Set and Tied
- Jell-O: Still Sweet Delights for Losing Super Bowl XLVII Team's Fans
- Oh Brother! Coaching Harbaughs Downplay Super Bowl XLVII Rivalry
- Super Bowl XLVII Preview: Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers
- How the Ravens Broke Through
- James Brown Breaks Down Super Bowl XLVII
- The Super Bowl for Dummies
- Ravens Practice Pool Report - Jan 31, 2013
- 49ers Practice Pool Report - Jan 31, 2013
- Super Bowl XLVII Commercials Preview
- What Does a Super Bowl Ad Cost?
- Super Bowl XLVII Commercials: E-Trade Baby Has Time of His Life
- Super Bowl XLVII Commercials: Go Daddy - Refaeli's Serious Lip-Lock with a Nerd
- Super Bowl XLVII Commercials: Teaser Super Bowl Ads Add Hype
- Super Bowl XLVII Commercials: Rogen and Rudd's Ideas Stifled in Super Bowl Ad
- Behind-the-scenes of Got Milk's First Super Bowl Ad
- Doritos Crash the Superbowl Contest
- Best Super Bowl XLVII Ads Preview
- Super Bowl XLVII Commercials: Big Money SBXLVII Ads
- Nantz and Simms on Calling Super Bowl XLVII
- Ravens react to Ray Lewis PED story
- Ravens Practice Pool Report - Jan 30, 2013
- 49ers Practice Pool Report - Jan 30, 2013
- 49ers Randy Moss Unhappy in His Role
- Super Bowl Rings on Display at the NFL Experience
- NFL Intensifies Crackdown, Nets $13.6M Worth of Fake Merchandise
- Packers Wide Receiver Donald Driver Announces Retirement
- 49ers Cornerback Culliver Against Having Gay Teammates
- Carolina Panthers Ask State for $62M for Stadium Renovation
- Falcons Want Tight End Tony Gonzalez to Forgo Retirement
- Joe Flacco in Hot Water for 'Winter Bowl' Comment
- Kickers Could Play Major Role in Super Bowl
- 49ers Cool and Calm During Super Bowl Media Day
- Talking with the 49ers at Super Bowl Media Day
- Weirdest Super Bowl Prop Bets
- Placing Bets on the Super Bowl
- Coach Speak: 'D' the Key for 49ers
- Viral Video: Celebrity genie in Toyota's Super Bowl Spot
- Is Volkswagen's Super Bowl Ad Racist?
- Super Bowl XLVII: Ravens Coach Harbaugh on Media Day
- Ravens' Flacco on Super Bowl XLVII
- Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis Denies Using PEDs to Heal Torn Triceps
- Majority of NFL Players Unhappy with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
- Hits, Fines at Issue: Ravens Pollard Sees NFL's Demise in 30 years
- Bettors Put Their Money on 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
- Niners Wideout Michael Crabtree Won't Face Sex Assault Charges
- Wideout Titus Young Continues Twitter Rant vs Lions
- NFL Pressured Man to Give Up 'Harbowl' Trademark
- Joe Flacco Answers His Critics
- Can the 49ers Contain Ray Rice?
- Kaepernick on Tattoos, Alex Smith and His New Verb
- 49ers Quarterback Gives Back To Hometown of Turlock
- Baltimore Has Purple Fever, And Only Prescription is More Ravens
- Ravens Preparing for Matchup With 49ers
- 49er Fever
- Harbaugh Family Talks Brother vs Brother Super Bowl
- Harbaugh Family Reacts to Brothers Coaching Super Bowl Teams
- Ravens Ozzie Newsome on Ray Lewis
- Super Bowl XLVII Predictions
- Superbowl Commercial Season Starts Pre-Game
- Dog Tries to Win Doritos Super Bowl Contest
- Kate Upton's Sexy Super Bowl Ad
- Super Bowl Ads: The Best and The Worst
- Ravens Safety Ed Reed to Play Next Season
- Cap-Strapped Jets May Be Forced to Trade Darrelle Revis
- Gore Cementing Status in 49ers Backfield Lore
- Super Bowl XLVII Sibling Rivalry
- Incredible Hulk Raven Spreads Purple Pride Around Baltimore
- Tattoo Artist Cashing In as Kaepernick Gains Fame
- Kaepernick's Parents on Tattoos, Dating
- Anheuser-Busch's Super Bowl Ad Moves
- Fans Full Of Pride As Ravens Head To Super Bowl XLVII
- Fans Wait For Hours To Greet Their Favorite Ravens
- Ex-Raider Tim Brown Says Coach Callahan Sabotaged Super Bowl XXXVII
- Suspension Over, Sean Peyton Reinstated as Saints Coach
- Backing Away: Jets Owner Suggests He Disliked Tim Tebow Trade
Copyright © 2013 AHN - All Rights Reserved