Like Clockwork, ICE Stops Sports Fans From Advertising Their Favorite Teams For Less Than Full Price

from the this-is-so-dumb dept

Two things that happen, like clockwork, every Super Bowl? Bogus completely fabricated claims that sex trafficking increases whereever the Super Bowl is held, and ICE making bullshit seizures of "counterfeit" sporting goods. This year, both Associated Press and the local Miami Herald ran bogus stories claiming that sex trafficking ramps up around the Super Bowl -- a claim that every single year is debunked and unproven. Reason always does a good job debunking those claims. so I'll just point you there for now.

On the "counterfeits" front, we've got a silly press release from ICE and plenty of news sources, like Fox News, gleefully cheering on the fact that fans won't be able to provide free advertising to their favorite sports teams without paying the monopoly price set by the NFL. We've covered just how messed up these ICE raids are in the past, but just as a refresher: it's completely fucked up that it's somehow illegal for people to make or sell unauthorized sports wear.

It used to not be this way. It used to be that if you made your own fan ware, sports teams actually liked the fact that you were advertising their brand to the world for free. And then some trademark lawyers came along and said "hey, but we could sell people the right to advertise our stuff for us" and began going to court to stop people from promoting their teams without first paying. An astounding number of people buy into this ridiculous myth -- but think about it: why should people have to pay monopoly prices to help advertise your sports team? It makes no sense at all.

What makes even less sense is the idea that ICE should be spending any time at all seizing goods that would allow fans to provide free advertising at slightly cheaper prices. How is this in the interest of Immigration & Customs Enforcement? I mean, if it means they're not rounding up and kicking out people who have lived here their whole lives, I guess I'd rather them wasting their time on this, but somehow I get the feeling it's not mutually exclusive. Anyway, the real bullshit here is that ICE -- which does this before every single major sporting event -- actually wants to pretend that it's somehow doing a good thing for the world, rather than doing this because they know every single news org wants some dumb story with a "big sports event" hook, and so they know they'll get press.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced Thursday the seizure of more than 176,000 counterfeit sports-related items, worth an estimated $123 million manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), through a collaborative enforcement operation targeting international shipments of counterfeit merchandise into the United States.

Also, note the $123 million. To their credit, at least the press release admits that that's the MSRP price. That's not the real price by any stretch of the imagination. ICE did not seize $123 million worth of goods. But, of course, the news reports leave out that detail, and just run with the $123 million number.

Even worse, ICE pretends that this is "protecting" fans, rather than actually fucking over the fans:

“Operation Team Player remains one of the most important national initiatives for protecting sports fans from the sale of counterfeit products and counterfeit tickets. The joint efforts of the NFL, the IPR Center, HSI, CBP, and Miami area law enforcement have helped ensure that Super Bowl LIV remains an authentic and outstanding experience for our fans,” said NFL Vice President of Legal Affairs, Dolores DiBella. “The NFL is committed to supporting these anti-counterfeiting and consumer protection measures, and extends its gratitude for the year-round support of law enforcement partners who drove the success of Operation Team Player.”

It's not consumer protection. You're just forcing your fans to pay more to give you advertising. Meanwhile, reports have the NFL making somewhere in the range of $15 billion last year (some say the number is even higher). Why are they having to use your tax dollars to force the prices of their merchandise to be jacked up even more?

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Filed Under: advertising, cbp, counterfeit, ice, licensing, sports, superbowl, trademark
Companies: nfl

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2020 @ 11:52am

    Re: The numbers don't add up

    I believe that would be the recording industry

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