As thousands of spectators descend on the Orlando, Fla., area for NBA All-Star Weekend, the league is urging fans to be on the lookout for counterfeit merchandise.
In addition to sending out a warning, the NBA is working with Homeland Security, the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to prohibit the sale of counterfeit NBA gear during this weekend’s festivities.
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Since 1992, the NBA has worked with CAPS — the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos — to confiscate more than 10 million counterfeit items valued at more than $369 million.
It’s estimated that low-quality, knock-off goods cost U.S. businesses between $200 million and $250 million per year, and the NBA is hoping they can keep fans in Orlando from being a part of that statistic.
“The NBA is committed year-round to protecting both our fans and authorized vendors from low-quality, counterfeit products that become more prevalent around high-profile events such as the NBA All-Star Game,” Ayala Deutsch, the NBA’s senior vice president and chief intellectual property counsel, said in a statement. “Counterfeiting harms legitimate, tax-paying retailers and cheats fans out of the lasting NBA keepsakes they desire. We want to give our fans the information they need to avoid buying unauthorized merchandise.”
The league is advising its fans to be on the lookout for a number of key identifiers when purchasing All-Star and other merchandise to ensure that the goods are not fake.
One of the easiest ways to determine that a piece of merchandise is authentic is the presence of hologram sticker or hangtag featuring the NBA logo and a sewn-in or screen printed neck label that identifies the product as being “genuine” or official.”
Of course, the best way for fans to guarantee that they’re getting the highest-quality merchandise is to purchase memorabilia at authorized retailers and online stores.
“Don’t be fooled — you get what you pay for when it comes to counterfeits,” Deutsch said. “It isn’t a keepsake if it contains a typo or falls apart after washing. We want our fans to have mementos that last as long as their memories of NBA All-Star.”