Here’s the Game Plan This Super Bowl

Thousands of football fans are flocking to Houston for this year’s Super Bowl. In fact, the Houston Super Bowl Committee and Visit Houston expect that about 140,000 out-of-town guests will be in town this weekend.

Also in attendance: thousands of uniformed officers dedicated to keeping the crowds – and the city itself – safe.

The Houston Police Department is the lead agency on the ground, and officers, in collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) agents, are already working hard to stamp out the crime that often accompanies large-scale events like the Super Bowl.

And one of the primary criminal activities at the Super Bowl – and other major sporting events – may not be the first to come to mind: counterfeiting.

So far, in ICE’s “Operation Team Player,” 56 counterfeiters have been arrested and agents have hauled away more than 260,000 products with an attached value of more than $20 million.

But the harm is much larger than even a $20 million MSRP.

The global trade in counterfeit goods amounts to $461 billion annually. That’s more than double the 2014 profits of the world’s top ten companies combined.

It also endangers the jobs of more than 45 million American jobs tied to intellectual property that underpin industries of every shape and size.

So, what can you do to ensure you’re not buying into counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise?

Take a look at the #FightFakes game plan.


Step one: Know the playbook.

Know where licensed NFL retailers are in your area.

Know what the NFL official hologram looks like.

Do your research.

Step two: Know your competition.

Watch for misspellings, grainy images, and unusual packaging.

Be leery of generic brand tags.

And if you’re not charged appropriate taxes at the end of your transaction, you’re likely facing a counterfeiter.

Step three: Prepare for anything – even, or rather especially, the trick play.

Sophisticated counterfeiters can fool even the keenest eye. And they’re always ready to call the trick play: a phony prop website.

Don’t purchase merchandise from websites that lack the “s” in https. Without the secure “s,” your personal and financial information could be compromised.

Additionally, don’t trust websites that lack a physical address, contact information, and/or return policy information.

Step four: Trust your instincts.

If you think you’re in trouble, you’re probably in trouble. Listen to your gut.


This Super Bowl, protect yourself and fellow fans by sticking to the #FightFakes game plan.

Because real fans get the real deal.

Jared Parks is director of advocacy and external affairs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center. 

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