NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Federal authorities and the NFL have seized more than $21.6 million worth of fake Super Bowl jerseys, hats and other items in a crackdown on sale of counterfeit goods.
The seizure was announced Thursday at a Manhattan news conference.
“We’ve seized more than 202,000 counterfeit sports-related items with an estimated value of more than $21.6 million,” said John Sandweg, Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “These are criminal organizations who are smuggling these goods into the United states.”
NFL gear is a $3 billion industry, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
Authorities say most of the knockoffs were manufactured overseas. They say once the makers learned the Broncos and Seahawks made the Super Bowl, they rushed to make the goods with the teams’ logos. Then the goods were smuggled into the U.S. using overnight shipping.
Authorities say fans only get about a 10 percent break on price for the poor-quality fake goods. They also say the losses caused by the counterfeiting drive up the price of legitimate goods.
Last year, federal officials busted $14 million in counterfeit goods in the lead-up to last year’s Super Bowl.
Authorities also continue to be on the lookout for counterfeit tickets to the big game.
“Be really careful about buying them for cash from somebody on the street,” Anastasia Danias from the NFL reminded fans. “Hundreds of fans are turned away at the gates believing they have bought the real thing.”
To combat counterfeiters, the league has put it a number of security features on the tickets.
Earlier this week, officials busted a sophisticated counterfeit ticket operation. Two men were arrested and charged for allegedly printing up tickets to Super Bowl week events, parking passes and Super Bowl XLVIII tickets.
Experts said the barcodes would have worked, potentially causing a logistics headache at MetLife Stadium.
Super Bowl XLVIII will kick off at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
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