NFL Gets Go-Ahead to Seize Counterfeit Super Bowl Merch in Atlanta
Many people have affectionately come to refer to Atlanta as “Hotlanta,” but the NFL wants to make sure that the modified name refers only to the Georgia city’s temperatures and not the quality of the merchandise sold in conjunction with Super Bowl LIII. Beginning today and lasting through noon on Monday, the league—thanks to a temporary restraining order—can tackle suspect sellers more fervently by taking bogus goods (and whatever the hawkers have used to make them) even before officials have determined the items are counterfeits.
Products of questionable quality have long been a problem surrounding the NFL’s championship clash, with last year’s game and the time leading up to it resulting in the purchase of $1.4 million in bogus tickets and merchandise. While confiscated items from that tilt in Minnesota ended up going to charities, the NFL certainly does not want any false ticket or product to tarnish its reputation and the massive crowd’s experience. So, brand protection being what it is—especially as the league looks to make good on the economic promise of the New England Patriots-Los Angeles Rams duel—those who intend to sell fakes are likely going to meet with some not-too-pleased league officials.
— Atlanta Journal-Constitution (@ajc) January 31, 2019
According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution look at the restraining order, it is rare for a company or an event to secure this freedom to swipe items before the actual identification of counterfeiters, but the Super Bowl is always big business, and the league is not looking to lose any of it. End-users also stand to suffer through the acquisition of shoddy items, so the “smart move” that intellectual property attorney Joseph Wargo feels the NFL is engaging in should likely make the Atlanta matchup a tad more lucrative for legitimate sellers. (Although, since the order gives the league the right to take something without definitive proof of its authenticity, one might think there could be a few unpleasant scenes as officials nab products.)
If there are, the league should still consider itself fortunate in its quest to secure consumer trust. While there are undoubtedly a few end-users who care more about snagging merchandise on the cheap than they do about the credibility of that merch or its sellers, the league cannot simply compromise its brand integrity in the name of letting fans score a deal on anything.
The NFL is especially wise for having desired for the order to last through noon on Monday, as that cutoff will give its agents roughly 14 hours beyond the conclusion of Super Bowl LIII to go after suspect merchants. Since that could be a prime time to market to fans of either team—with the losing squad’s merch likely going for cheaper prices so the sellers can part with them and the winning club’s product fetching higher profits in the afterglow of its triumph—would-be counterfeiters are likely not going to have a Super Sunday or Monday.