LAS VEGAS – Today, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) announced the seizure of approximately 94,000 counterfeit sports-related items during the past year, worth an estimated $28.1 million during a joint press conference with the National Football League (NFL).
The seizures are part of Operation Team Player, an ongoing annual initiative spearheaded by the IPR Center and in coordination with all major U.S. sports leagues to prevent counterfeit sports related merchandise, apparel and tickets from reaching fans ahead of high-profile sporting events.
“Thanks to our partnerships with the NFL and major sporting leagues, Operation Team Player is the biggest anti-counterfeiting initiative within the federal government,” said James Mancuso, IPR Center director. “This team effort is critical to our goal of ensuring consumers are equipped with the knowledge necessary to protect themselves from being scammed by counterfeiters who take advantage of fan enthusiasm and increased demand for sports merchandise during these major sporting events.”
“With building excitement for the first Super Bowl game played in Las Vegas, the NFL is deeply appreciative of our partnership with the IPR Center, HSI, CBP and Las Vegas area law enforcement,” said Dolores DiBella, NFL Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs. “Their dedication and tireless efforts through Operation Team Player have resulted in successful year-round strategies that help protect NFL fans from counterfeit scams.”
“Make no mistake, if you peddle counterfeit merchandise in Nevada, we will go after you,” said William H. Scott, Jr. Chief of Investigations, Nevada Office of the Attorney General.
Since 2008, the IPR Center has led coordinated efforts with public, private, and international partners to identify online marketplaces, e-commerce platforms, markets and other retail outlets engaged in the sale of counterfeit goods.
Operation Team Player
Operation Team Player is a partnership between the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Custom and Border Protection (CBP) and major sports leagues to prevent the illegal import and sale of fake sports merchandise.