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BUYER BEWARE! Fanatics Is Selling Counterfeit Sports Memorabilia!

BUYER BEWARE! Fanatics Is Selling Counterfeit Sports Memorabilia!

Most visitors to the TealTownUSA website or listeners of our podcast know we are not Fanatics fans. We find their designs uninspired and homogenized, their product quality is abhorrent and inconsistent, and the lack of attention to detail is documented almost daily on social media. While the product on the various online outlets they manage such as shop.nhl.com, nflshop.com, and mlbshop.com are licensed and authentic, Fanatics owns other sites that are selling counterfeit sports apparel.

Since we’re known for being fanatically anti-Fanatics, people on social media regularly send us horror stories and photos about their Fanatics orders. Whether it’s jerseys with the wrong number font, a backwards nameplate, or shirts that seemingly fall apart after a single wash, the stories keep on coming. Until now, all the Fanatics merchandise featured in the photos sent to us were at least authentic, even if it took buyers months to receive their orders.

This latest horror story was sent via Twitter. They posted photos of a licensed and genuine replica Reebok Premier San Jose Sharks Joe Pavelski jersey purchased at the Sharks Store next to the “authentic” Premier jersey just bought from SportsMemorabilia.com. The jersey from Sports Memorabilia is a blatant fake as you can see in the photos from the tweet.

Fake Pavelski jersey
We found the site listing and the jersey they advertised reads “Autographed Joe Pavelski Jersey – Reebok Premier 2016 Stanley Cup”. While the jersey appears to be legit in the poorly lit photos, the customization renders it fake once you see it in-person.

  • There is no captain’s “C” on the front (there was no photo of the front in the site listing)
  • The letters are pressed directly onto the jersey without a plate
  • The font of the letters is inaccurate
  • The Stanley Cup patch stitch work, coloring, and placement is inaccurate
  • The sleeve numbers are inaccurate
  • The number on the back is oversized and features square holes in the number rather than rectangles
  • Pavelski’s signature in the photo from the site appears to be different than the on the jersey received which means the jersey received is likely not the one in the photo

SportsMemorabilia.com did issue a full refund after being informed the jersey was not authentic. Despite SportsMemorabila.com admitting the jersey did not meet their authenticity guarantee, they’ve relisted the Pavelski jersey back for sale on their website at the same price!!! This proves they are knowingly and purposely selling fake merchandise.

While the jersey itself appears to be an authentic Reebok Premier replica, no licensed retailer could sell this as legit with the clear counterfeit lettering and patch, despite their Authenticity Guarantee. Notice that their guarantee is not promising that the autograph is authentic, but that the “memorabilia and collectible” is genuine.

Authenticity Guarantee

Now, you might be asking yourself “what does this have to do with Fanatics?” The answer is Fanatics owns and runs SportsMemorabilia.com.

At the bottom of every page on SportsMemorabilia.com, it reads “Fanatics, Inc., All Rights Reserved. No portion of this site may be reproduced or duplicated without the express permission of Fanatics, Inc“. Also, a quick check of the domain name registrar shows the site is registered through the same company.

We rely on the listings of our trusted 3rd party sellers

During the return process, when asked why the jersey wasn’t authentic despite the website guarantee, we’re told the customer rep on the phone call responded “We rely on the listings of our trusted 3rd party sellers”. This excuse is a cop out. Fanatics is running the site and telling customers each item is guaranteed. It’s the responsibility of Fanatics to validate each item and verify the authenticity and failure to do so is negligent.

After digging deeper into the site, we came across several laughable and obvious fakes. Have a look at some of these more noticeable counterfeit jerseys still available on SportsMemorabilia.com. Notice that every page features their “Authenticity Guarantee” in the upper right corner. Pay particular attention to the prices.

 

Zach Parise Jersey

Fake Minnesota Jersey

Jeremy Roenick Jersey

Fake Chicago jersey with fake nameplate

Joe Sakic Jersey

Fake Colorado jersey featuring style never worn by Avalanche

And here is a short list of more fake NHL jerseys we found:

FYI, the Roenick jersey shown above is also listed on eBay, at a substantially lower cost.

Jeremy Roenick Jersey Jeremy Roenick jersey - eBay

 

Not Just The NHL

The literal billion dollar question of course is… why are pro sports leagues, like the NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA, and MLS contracted with Fanatics?  Were Bay Area franchises like the San Jose Sharks, San Jose Earthquakes, San Francisco GiantsSan Francisco 49ers, Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors, and Sacramento Kings aware of this disreputable and illegal practice of selling fake merchandise before signing their contracts? Check out these ridiculously bad counterfeit 49ers and Giants jerseys for John Taylor and Sergio Romo currently available.

John Taylor Jersey Sergio Romo Jersey

 

While it’s obvious the Taylor listing is fake by the nameplate alone, the Romo one is comically bad. The Giants wear cream jerseys, not white. Only their grey away jerseys feature “San Francisco” across the front and the font they use is totally different from this abomination. If you think that’s bad, pay particular attention to two Romo jerseys available to purchase.

Sergio Romo duplicate

SportsMemorabilia.com is selling two different Romo jerseys on their website, but they’re using the same photo for each listing. Compare the non-framed jersey photo with the framed jersey photo and you will find it’s the same jersey with a frame photoshopped around the first photo. This is some of the most unethical and deceptive business practice we’ve ever witnessed. How is this legal? How can a fan expect a jersey or autograph to be legit when they’re using 1 photo to sell multiple jerseys? Fanatics is purposely defrauding the consumer! 

But Wait! There’s More!

Fanatics is not only using SportsMemorabila.com to sell counterfeit swag on unsuspecting fans, but Fanatics owner Michael Rubin also purchased, and is using, the once reputable SteinerSports.com. Have a look at two completely different counterfeit Evgeni Nabokov jerseys recently for sale on both of these sites.

steinersports

As you can see from the photos, these are blatant fakes. The one on the left is slightly better because at least the jersey looks like it might be a legit replica jersey and the correct font is used. However, the teal outlines on all the numbers are the wrong shade and off-aligned. The one on the right is just laughable as the number font and materials are wrong and they use the ticket stub in the photo to hide the logo. When the consumer is being asked to shell out over $400 for an autographed jersey, shouldn’t the consumer expect the jersey to be authentic? No licensed reseller could legally sell these jerseys.

Not Just Jerseys!

Fanatics also has a bad habit of adding inaccurate inscriptions to autographed merchandise. Case in point, Barclay Goodrow:

 

barclay goodrow puck

For those fans that might be unaware, Barclay Goodrow scored the game 7 winner in overtime, not double overtime. When you score the biggest goal of your career, you remember every little detail. It’s obvious some players aren’t the ones inscribing these collectibles and Fanatics is actually devaluing product with these silly and useless “inscriptions”.

Despite the fact that 99% of their replies on Twitter are apologies, it’s clear Fanatics doesn’t care about Fans. While the product they produce is substandard, at least it’s licensed and official. The fact that they are knowingly and purposely using other sites to sell fake jerseys, and other memorabilia, that take advantage of unsuspecting fans is inexcusable and fraudulent.

Any teams and leagues working with Fanatics should immediately look into terminating their contracts with this monopolistic, unscrupulous and deceptive company.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. David

    August 6, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Its bad customization. The jerseys are 100% real.

    • AJ Strong

      August 6, 2020 at 11:28 pm

      Some of the jerseys they sell are 100% real. However, there are several jerseys on their site that are 100% fake like the Roenick, Parise, Hasek, Kuraly, Cheevers, and Romo jerseys listed in the article. There’s also an Erik Haula Vegas jersey that’s an obvious fake as it doesn’t even have the NHL shield on the collar.

      None of the jerseys we listed could be sold at a licensed outlet which was part of the point of the article. Since Fanatics owns this site, they’re ultimately responsible for the listings. Also of note, the Roenick jersey listed in the article for $385.99 is also currently listed on eBay $249.99. It’s clear they’re purposely trying to rip off unsuspecting customers.

  2. Anthony

    August 8, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    SportsCollectibles copies ebay sellers ads and pics repost them as their own on their website and Amazon. Once you buy from them then they try and buy from actual seller and jack up price to their customers. The “custom” jerseys without name brand are not counterfeit or illegal. But why buy from them and not right from seller who has it on ebay and pay way less.

    • AJ Strong

      August 8, 2020 at 4:42 pm

      We never mentioned SportsCollectibles.com in the article. Based on a domain search, SportsCollectibles.com doesn’t not appear to be affiliated with Fanatics. However, SportsCollectibles.com currently has 2 black Evgeni Nabokov jerseys listed for sale. Neither jersey is made by KOHO, CCM, or Reebok which were the only companies licensed to make that type of jersey. If that style of jersey isn’t made by them, it’s a counterfeit and the sale of counterfeit goods is illegal.

      If a licensed retailer like the Sharks Store, Dick’s, etc… can’t sell it, it may not be considered counterfeit if it’s a real jersey with inauthentic customization, but it’s certainly not authentic and can’t be sold by them.

  3. Pingback: Fanatics Fails Fans - Teal Town USA

  4. Darius Naro

    August 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    It’s crazy to know that scams happen a lot, and it can be a bit difficult to know when it’s happening. That’s why I very much believe its important to make sure whatever consumers are purchasing is legit, I’m saying this because I had scam experiences on a variety of different things. However, when it comes to signed sports memorabilia it’s really a mystery to know for sure if what you got is authentic or signed by the actual player. Now I’m starting to realize if my probably authentic Goodrow jersey is the real deal. Suspicions came when I entered the authenticity verification number into the website for SportsMemorabilia, next thing I know its invalid. After that, I contacted the company about the issue and they said that they would send me an email allowing me to send them some photos of my jersey to them so they can verify it. Several days later, nothing.

    • AJ Strong

      August 24, 2020 at 5:49 pm

      Sorry to hear that. At this point, I don’t think I’d trust any autograph unless I got it myself or it came directly from the team.

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