WINNIPEG - Counterfeit Winnipeg Jets jerseys, featuring the NHL team’s new primary logo, are creeping onto the market weeks before the franchise is ready to issue its legitimate versions for sale.
And team ownership group True North Sports and Entertainment is beginning to map out an offence against it.
The emergence of the low-priced, illegally produced and sold apparel is bad news for not only the Jets, but for retailers such as Royal Sports in Winnipeg and elsewhere.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a popular jersey, and popular product. So yeah, we’re worried,” Gerald Haasbeek, owner of Royal’s two local outlets, said of the impact on retailers’ bottom lines.
“It definitely affects retailers like us.”
On sales website Alibaba.com, a white Jets jersey described as “authentic” with the new emblem has been advertised at a price ranging from $28 to little more than $50 — far below the approximately $129 generally charged by legitimate retailers for licensed replica NHL jerseys.
Cpl. John Montgomery of the RCMP federal enforcement section pointed out that certain firms have exclusive rights to deal in official NHL apparel and souvenirs, “and Alibaba is not one of them.”
“I want to sit down with the merchandise guys, and the merchandise guys are going to have their input in how we handle this,” Brown said.
“We have been very careful to warn the consumers about dealing with people on the secondary market, whether it’s in tickets, merchandise — anything to do with buying something.”
Montgomery noted that identifying fake merchandise is usually easy, if one knows what to look for in items sold through websites such as Kijiji, Craigslist, “or out of the back of a car.”
Indicators are poor embroidery, misspelled tags, shoddy material and prices far too good to be true.
“The price point is what anybody wants to pay for it,” Montgomery said.
“It’s usually about half the price, to one-third of the price. But it’s not the same quality.”