TAMPA (CelebrityAccess) — Local, state, and federal are ramping up efforts to combat counterfeit tickets and merchandise ahead of Super Bowl LV in Tampa this weekend.
The partnership, part of ‘Operation Team Player’ was first launched in 2013 in an effort to combat the sale of counterfeit items related to sports events and overseen by a unit of Homeland Security Investigations, part of the Homeland Security Department.
This year alone, the program has seized more than 144,000 counterfeit items worth $45 million, according to the Associated Press.
Special agents from HSI worked with industry, CBP, Tampa police officers, and other partner agencies to identify flea markets, retail outlets and street vendors selling counterfeit goods during the week leading up to Super Bowl LV (55). They seized fake jerseys, hats, cell-phone accessories and thousands of other bogus items prepared to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.
“Intellectual property rights enforcement is essential to protecting the health and safety of American consumers; ensuring a level playing field for legitimate U.S. businesses; and tackling domestic and international criminal organizations. CBP personnel are on the frontlines of enforcing intellectual property rights—most visibly by seizing products that infringe on trademarks, copyrights, and patents,” Vernon Foret, CBP Director of Field Operations for Miami and Tampa. “It has been an honor to work with the far-reaching network of law enforcement partners, public safety agencies and stakeholders represented here today.”
As well, Raymond James Stadium, where the game will take place, has also implemented measures to reduce counterfeiting and this year will be the first time in the history of the Super Bowl where all tickets to the big game will be digital.
“Super Bowl 55 will be the first-ever Super Bowl which all tickets will be digital,” Michael Buchwald, NFL Senior Legal Council, told Tampa’s WFLA. “Hard stock tickets will not be available or sold for Super Bowl 55. All fans who purchase a Super Bowl 55 ticket will be required to access their ticket on the NFL Ticket Holder app.”