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 Report from our meeting held 26/06/2008

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Billsfan
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PostSubject: Report from our meeting held 26/06/2008   Fri Jun 27 2008, 12:25

We held our meeting on Thursday 26th June 08 and we discussed various aspects of the counterfeiting problem.

I'll get to the specific questions raised by you guys first.

First we have to get a little perspective on how Reebok and it's parent company Adidas sees the NFL market within the UK currently. It was viewed as a niche market, but the Giants/Dolphins game opened their eyes to the potential that the fan base has here. 80,000 people at Wembley all wearing the jersey of their team, even if a quarter of those people bought a jersey at or before the game then that's sales of 20,000, not a bad day at the office. The brand protection team for the whole group, which you can imagine is huge, consists of 2 protection mangers and a small backup team. Not many people for such a huge counterfeiting problem which is estimated at $450 billion each year ( encompassing everything not just NFL jerseys). And the best of British luck to them I say. Given that the sport here is still fairly small but growing rapidly, the expertise of the guys there dealing with NFL counterfeits is limited. It appears that us here at NJUFP are leading the way Wink

Reebok have recognised the increased interest and, as you can imagine, are very eager to meet the needs of their customers. Can they do it quickly? Simple answer, no not yet.
While Reebok are convinced that the sport in the UK and Europe will be a success, they are finding it hard to convince the retailers to buy the stock in large enough quantities as the 'high street' still views it as a slow seller. Which is why smaller, internet based companies are springing up. Now these retailers do not have the buying power of the larger concerns and having 3 styles of jersey, in 7 different sizes, in home, road and alternate, means your initial outlay on jerseys is 2016 pieces, that's only for one player on each team.

Now, which players do you get, let's take the Bears as an example. You would think that getting the QB's jersey would be a safe bet, hey they are the glory boy's, no? Right, so you have bought your 7 sizes in each style and in 3 colour choices, that's 63 Rex Grossman jersey you have, (only one of each size mind, hey I've got to keep this simple for my tiny brain to follow). Along comes Devin Hester, rookie cornerback, who wants his jersey? No one. In thirteen weeks as a professional football player, Hester recorded six return touchdowns and became an instant star, bears fans all over want his jersey, are there any, nope. Reebok has to run off his jersey ultra fast and get them to the stores. Can our small retailer get in on the action, not really because he has 63 jerseys that he needs to sell, for a player who has stunk and when all the bears fans call and say I want a bears jersey, he says ' Got a Grossman' only to hear the phone click.

So you can see why the jersey business here is reluctant to go full on, when they can see a huge downside and not a lot of upside.

Is the consumer to blame at all? Well a small amount of blame could be attached to us. Do we go into the stores and badger them for jerseys? Some do, but most of us look, can't see anything, disturb the spotty Saturday kid who's talking to his colleague about the best place to get cheap cannabis and then leave the store when he say's ' Nah, don't sell them mate.'
We live in the internet age, which is great ( I wouldn't be able to ramble on to you good people without it), so we jump on the net, no spotty teenager to deal with there, and find what we want and have it shipped to our front door. It's normally cheaper and more convenient.

So are Reebok trying to increase the retailers selling NFL apparel? Of course, but it's the retailers who are reluctant. Reebok have recognised that their website is in need of upgrading and can see the value of opening more of their own stores with greater NFL coverage, hopefully we will see this in the near future. Along with a customising option too.

Are Reebok closing down sites that sell counterfeit jerseys. Yes, I'm proud to say that Reebok are going to be working closely with us here and any seller we find we will feed on to the Brand Protection team who will take action to close the operations down. So keep your eyes peeled and post those places you find here at NJUFP.

Now we get to the places that the jerseys are manufactured. Replicas are made in Korea, Honduras and the Dominican republic, with some blanks finished in the US, (our Hester example above.) The EQT follows the replica and the Authentic range is currently made in Korea and El Salvador. Some jersey were made in China for a very short period, and my contact is going to confirm when, how long for and what teams and get back to me.

So why do we have the counterfeiting problem, easy, money. Wherever a market exists people will be there to cash in on it. As we know a cheap labour force in the far east makes it easy to knock out fake items and it's far easier to move clothing around the globe than illegal drugs.
Looking at our specific area of interest, why the authentic range jersey?
Well, perversely, it's easier to fake an authentic than a replica. You need expensive machinery and a skilled workforce to apply the screened numbers to the jersey. With the authentic you need some one who can sew. Has the apparel business brought this upon themselves, answer yes. Once they outsourced the manufacture of their replica equipment, they lost control of the security they would have had had they kept the production in house. A large number of the fakes are made in the same factories as the genuine. Reebok allows for an overrun of 4% before the manufacturer has to declare and destroy them, this allows for the factory seconds.

The sliver lining, well there are people like us, who won't buy fake as we know what social economic problems the fake trade perpetuates. The appalling working conditions, children as young as 8 and 9 sewing for 19 hours a day and not getting an education. The proceeds going to organised crime and in some cases terrorist groups.

I have been given the go ahead to be able to provide an authentication service to those of us who have purchased counterfeit jerseys and are having trouble with paypal disputes and for trading standards . As most of us know paying by paypal gives us some measure of protection, but if the seller doesn't immediately issue a refund then paypal requires proof in the form of a written report from a third party. Hopefully I won't have to do many of those.

We are making a difference, so we just need to keep up the fun ( I was going to say good, but fun is more accurate) work we are doing here.

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PostSubject: Re: Report from our meeting held 26/06/2008   Wed Mar 24 2010, 17:58

Thanks seems like you are truly becoming the sherriff of the land! A really insightful piece.
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Jimbo UK
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PostSubject: Re: Report from our meeting held 26/06/2008   Sun Sep 26 2010, 12:57

Still new to your site, and just reading the older material. This sounded like a break through achievement. Do you still have an open channel into Rebook, any new progress, especially around retailing?

You would think with you having shown such concern for both fans in the UK and their business (e.g. stopping the fakes) they would allow you to sell from your site without the horrific import taxes fans get hit with when buying direct from NFL.com or team stores.

By the way, the fake thing is not just a UK issue. Having been luckily enough to go to Oakland for 5 games, I'd say one in three jersey's being worn by fans in the stadium are fake.
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PostSubject: Re: Report from our meeting held 26/06/2008   Sun Sep 26 2010, 21:24

Jimbo,

I'd really like to say that Reebok are still in contact with me, but I'd be lying. Reebok is part of the Adidas group and in Europe the premier leagues are where their major revenue is. They do not have a large anti counterfeiting dept, so their efforts go into soccer.

I would email them with new fake sellers, but the replies stopped coming. I've found them and the NFL here in the UK to be unresponsive. Shame really as I believe that we could really help them out.

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