The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers sported some outstanding duds for the 2012 Winter Classic, so street vendors paid little mind to silly “laws” when they tried to get their cut. Unfortunately for them, NBC Philadelphia’s Teresa Masterson reports that federal officials seized a whopping $350,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise right before the event.
Officials report that 1,649 fake items were seized, so even if that math is a little optimistic, it’s still a lot of clothing with logos that will probably dissolve within five washes.
Vendors were reportedly planning to sell them for the same price as licensed stores. NBC Philadelphia features this photo of some of the seized fakes:
As you can see, those aren’t your run-of-the-mill counterfeit bits of merchandise that look so inauthentic that they’re almost kind of charming. Officials listed three ways to detect fakes:
- Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag and a sewn-in or screen printed neck label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NHL to produce “genuine” or “official” merchandise.
- Shop at legitimate retailers, such as the official Philadelphia Flyers team store and website rather than buy items from street vendors, flea markets, overseas websites or other questionable sources.
- Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.
It happens to every NHL team. You go rooting around on Ebay or other sites looking for a good deal on your favorite team’s jersey to add to your collection. You see one well below the cost of your typical jersey and it looks virtually identical to what you can get from more reputable outlets and you bite the bullet.
How about if your favorite team hasn’t even released what their sweaters will look like yet and you can still buy them online from… Somewhere? That’s the situation the Winnipeg Jets are dealing with right now as their sweaters won’t be shown off until the start of training camp at the earliest yet there are still some “new” ones found online.
As Paul Turenne of the Winnipeg Sun finds out, the Jets management is making sure it’s well known that these jerseys are fakes and that the design of them is more than a bit suspect.
“The authentic jerseys won’t be available until October, and replica jerseys likely not until November. That comes from the manufacturer,” said Scott Brown, director of communications for True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Jets.
Nevertheless, photos purporting to be leaks of the new Jets jerseys have been circulating on the Internet for weeks.
Brown said a common one showing a dark blue jersey with the main plane logo in the middle is “not even close” to legitimate. The same goes for any other supposed sneak previews.
For Jets fans and jersey collectors alike, the wait to see the new sweaters is a bit frustrating and since we’ve already heard how the delay in showing off the new duds is going to affect the video game fans, it’s a bit annoying for them too. Still, True North is creating a lot of interest in what they’re going to be showing off and given the response of the fans in Winnipeg, they’re not going to have a problem selling the new goods once they’re out. Keeping enough stuff in stock will be a problem, however.
That said, at least one of the more reputable sites is giving you the chance to put your claim in right now to order either the home or away sweater (no, the Jets won’t have a third right off the bat) without even knowing what it looks like (stick-tap to Tyler McKinna for finding that). As we showed off in our tour of the best and worst sweaters of all-time, plunking down your hard earned bucks on a sweater that may or may not be terrible could be a gamble of an investment.
With how nice the new Jets logo looks, it’d be a relatively safe investment either way but still… What if it ended up looking like the new Islanders third jersey? Yikes. Spend wisely, friends.
While the players, coaches, and staff at Heinz Field are busy preparing for the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh, there’s another group that’s already well into the game and doing their best off the ice.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
The Feds seized shipments of counterfeit Winter Classic merchandise that was on its way to Pittsburgh to be sold around the city for the New Years Day event. If this seems like it’s not that big of a deal, you’d be very wrong.
In the past month authorities in Pittsburgh scanned incoming packages for counterfeit goods and intercepted shipments from overseas of almost 800 fake items. The counterfeits included NHL and National Football League jerseys, hats, T-shirts and other souvenirs worth an estimated $100,000, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said.
Recently, the NHL shared information saying that over 38,000 Winter Classic jerseys alone have been sold in advance of the game and after walking around Pittsburgh the last couple of days, I almost think that number is grossly under reported. Much like a rock concert or any other big pro sporting event, there’s always going to be some shady characters selling questionable merchandise for well under market value in the vicinity of the venue. It is, however, good to see that the number of brutal fakes will be less than anticipated.
There won’t be a shortage of places to get Winter Classic gear at Heinz Field as there’s numerous booths inside and outside the stadium including this truck from Dick’s Sporting Goods that’ll be setting up shop next to the stadium.
If you want the real stuff, just stick to the guys selling from the booths. If you want shoddy, sketchy merchandise I’m willing to bet there’ll be guys with duffle bags and cardboard boxes to feed your need.