Crackdown on counterfeit sports products correlates with booming industry

The sales of counterfeit and pirated products have been increasing, especially in the sports world, to the point where it affects the sales of business that sell authentic products.

According to The Street, an American financial news and services website, the sale of counterfeit products is growing in the sports world, with counterfeit goods valued up to $960 billion this year alone, and the NFL is collaborating with federal investigation teams to target the sales of these pirated products.

The rise of pirated sports goods hurts the revenue of legitimate stores and venues, and Homeland Security Investigations has stepped in as the leading role to target the sale of these pirated products.

“Operation Project Player,” an attack on pirated products, had been successful prior to last year’s Superbowl in seizing more than 397,000 items of fake sports clothing from places that were suspected of selling counterfeit goods, and all the items came in to an approximate retail cost value of about $37.8 million, according to

From that incident, several arrests were made.

The risk of selling counterfeit goods should worry the organizations that are distributing and selling them because they are actually hurting the economy and the revenue of businesses that are selling authentic clothing apparel. Although non-authentic sports apparel is cheaper, the real products are something that consumers and sports fans should invest in, because it supports their teams. Many legitimate businesses could be threatened with the rise in counterfeit products and that could mean that sports businesses and peoples’ jobs will be at risk.

“As an associate’s person, I guess it affects me in a way that […] the stuff we sell won’t be selling as much as a popular counterfeit product,” said Justin Nebrija, a retail associate at a San Francisco Giants’ dugout store.

As consumers, we should be thinking about how the selling of these fake sports goods are affecting local businesses that sell authentic sportswear. Also, why would any real fan of sports support the distributing and vending of counterfeit products?

“People mostly want authentic things,” Nebrija said. “I know some stores, like they sell counterfeit stuff, but I don’t think it’s affected the store as much.”

Counterfeit clothes seem to be getting popular, and this is hurting the sports teams because they won’t be able to get a profit from the goods if there are stores and vendors on the street selling fake sports clothing.

“[Counterfeit merchandise] is degrading for the teams,” Skyline student Nestor Zambrano said. “[The team] loses their value”.

As the sale of counterfeit products skyrocket, there are still many sports fans who buy authentic sportswear. Counterfeit sportswear might be cheaper than real sports apparel, but the real sports fans out there will still support the authentic clothing of their favorite teams.

Particularly, California-based baseball teams have prevailed sports sales on, which is the top online retail site for licensed sports merchandise, according to Yahoo sports.

Authentic sports merchandise is more expensive than counterfeit products, but overall it would be better to purchase the real stuff than the less expensive counterfeit products because in the end, it has more value and it will last longer.


Update: the headline was changed to better reflect the article. 1:43 p.m. 3/9/2015