Thousands of fake NFL jerseys seized at LAX
Gearing up for Super Bowl XLVI?
An authentic NFL jersey -- just like those worn by the New England Patriots and New York Giants -- will cost you $274.99 at the league's official website.
At that price, it's little wonder that counterfeiters are thriving.
Since the National Football League season began in September, federal agents working at Los Angeles International Airport and Ontario International Airport have intercepted 304 packages containing 10,710 fake NFL jerseys, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Their total value: $847,000.
That works out to $79 each.
The seizures represent a tiny slice of the problem. In a study completed last year, the brand protection company Mark Monitor identified 1,300 websites selling questionable jerseys. They receive 56 million page views a year and sold an estimated 800,000 shirts.
Most of the domain names were linked to China.
"These fraudsters make easy money by selling popular — and unlicensed— apparel to these loyal fans," the study concluded.
"Certainly, there are legitimate sites that offer sports apparel at discounted prices," the report said, "but the results found in our study highlight questionable practices, indicating levels of counterfeiting and other suspicious activity that is on par with the most sophisticated fraudsters we’ve analyzed in other industries."
Many fans are willing to overlook the telltale signs of a fake: inferior stitching, numbers frayed along their edges or words misspelled on the tags.
-- Alan Zarembo
Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and import specialists at LAX have seized 304 parcels containing a total 10,710 counterfeit NFL jerseys since the football season began. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection