The NHL’s annual outdoor showcase has the league on alert for fake memorabilia.
When the hometown Boston Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at historic Fenway Park on New Year’s Day, the NHL warns that hockey fans will be targeted by counterfeiters attempting to sell unauthorized and poorly produced knock-off merchandise. Potential victims will range from legitimate retailers throughout the region to Bruins and Flyers fans who believe they’re purchasing authentic merchandise, only to learn later they’ve obtained counterfeit merchandise of inferior quality.
Since 1993, the NHL – through its membership in the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos (CAPS) – has been involved in the seizure of more than nine million pieces of counterfeit merchandise featuring the names and logos of various professional sports leagues and teams, colleges and universities, and other brand owners – valued at more than $334 million. Such counterfeiting often occurs as the demand for commemorative gear rises around high-profile events like the Stanley Cup playoffs or the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, to be held at Fenway Park on Jan. 1 at 1:00 pm ET. For example, at the inaugural NHL Winter Classic in Buffalo in 2008, local law enforcement seized over 1,100 pieces of counterfeit NHL apparel and at last year’s NHL Winter Classic in Chicago, thousands of league counterfeits were confiscated.
This week, the NHL will be cooperating with local law enforcement authorities, who will be responsible for enforcing local laws prohibiting the sale of counterfeit merchandise during the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
"Bruins and Flyers fans have been looking forward to the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic for months now, making Boston a prime destination for both fans and counterfeiters," said Tom Prochnow, NHL Enterprises group vice president, legal and business affairs.
In addition to misleading consumers who believe they are buying official memorabilia, counterfeiting significantly harms legitimate vendors through lost business.
"We strive for the highest level of quality control," said Prochnow. "Not only do we want to protect legitimate local businesses that play by the rules, but we also want to ensure that our fans take home memorabilia that will last along with their memories of this once-in-a-lifetime event."