Confiscated counterfeit Super Bowl XLVIII merchandise is viewed at a news conference on Thursday in New York. Credit: Getty Images
Federal authorities and the NFL seized more than $21.6 million worth of fake Super Bowl jerseys, hats and other goods in an anti-counterfeit operation ahead of the big game.
The results of Operation Team Player were announced Thursday in Manhattan. More than 50 people were arrested and over 202,000 pieces of phony memorabilia were seized as part of the operation.
"No good comes from counterfeiting American products regardless of whether they are jerseys, airbags or pharmaceuticals," said John Sandweg, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
For eight months, federal authorities worked with sport leagues and agencies nationwide to identify illegal shipments of the goods, as well as stores and vendors selling counterfeit trademarked items.
Many of the knockoffs were manufactured oversees, officials said.
Chief litigation officer for the NFL, Anastasia Danias, cautioned fans and said that counterfeits were getting better.
"If you see a price that’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Danias said.
New York authorities announced earlier this week the arrests of two men they said made high-quality Super Bowl tickets and sold them online.