Authorities Seized $20M in Counterfeit Super Bowl Merchandise
It was no surprise that counterfeit Super Bowl items were a large concern for the 2018 Super Bowl. In fact, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots even teamed up with the NFL to crack down on the fake merchandise together. Now, we have some numbers on how much counterfeit merchandise federal agents managed to seize.
According to The Washington Examiner, federal agents in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) branch seized approximately $20 million in counterfeit items that would have been sold for the big game.
Operation Team Player, an annual project to find fake merchandise, netted 260,000 counterfeit sports-related items, which led to the arrests of 56 people.
"Criminal elements use major sporting events like the Super Bowl as an opportunity to sell substandard and counterfeit goods to the American public," Acting ICE Director Thomas D. Homan said, according to the Washington Examiner. "ICE special agents are committed to collaborating with industry and law-enforcement agencies to crackdown on counterfeiting that significantly impacts local economies and funnels money into organizations involved in additional illicit activities."
Last year's operation seized nearly 450,000 items worth approximately $39 million.
"The NFL is proud to continue its work with ICE, the IPR Center, and law enforcement departments throughout the country to protect fans and consumers who are seeking an authentic NFL experience during the celebration of Super Bowl LII," said NFL Vice President of Legal Affairs, Dolores DiBella.
It seems like counterfeit sports memorabilia might just be a problem that never goes away, but it sure looks like the federal agents and the professional sports leagues are doing everything they can.