How To Spot A Fake Jersey

A Comprehensive Guide To Counterfeit Jerseys
September 14, 2018

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How To Spot A Fake Jersey

Have you ever come across your favorite team’s jersey somewhere in the depths of the interwebs for an abnormally low price? When you went to view the actual jersey on whatever website you saw it on, did you think to yourself that it may just be too good to be true? Well, more often than not, if you have to ask yourself that question then it is usually the case. Purchasing sports team jerseys is not the exception to this rule.

The unfortunate reality of our current world is that there exists a certain black market dedicated to producing and selling thousands of knock-off (or fake) jerseys. It is part of the market that unfortunately does not look to be going anywhere anytime soon. While there are some individuals out there that are fully aware of the fact that they bought (and/or continue to buy) these fake jerseys, some aren’t so aware. There have been cases where someone may not be a fan or possess enough knowledge about jerseys to tell the difference between a real jersey and a fake one and ended up purchasing a knock-off as a gift because they thought they were getting a great deal. Or, someone may be a new fan to the sport and also saw a much lower price than they thought a jersey would be and also thought they were getting an amazing deal. Whatever the reason may be, it’s always better to be as skeptical as possible and ask questions before making a purchase rather than after; while we have our IJ lifetime return policy [insert link of our return policy], others may not be so keen to take back what was already purchased.

Here at IceJerseys, we want to be able to help you to distinguish between a fake, knock-off jersey and an officially licensed one. The following are five key tips to help you to determine if the jersey you are about to purchase is licensed or not (for both online and in person purchasing).

What does the website look like? 

This one may seem simple and obvious, but it is something important to take notice of. While many of the knock-off jersey websites try to look as professional as possible, if you look hard enough you will be able to tell the difference between a site that sells knock-offs and an officially licensed retail store. Before moving forward with a purchase, first be sure to check the website out a little bit. Check to see that the website looks completely professionally designed; if it doesn’t then it likely is a knock-off site. Roughly 99% of these knock-off sites are from overseas (mainly China); as such, another way to tell if it is a knock-off site would be by reading some of the descriptions. Because they would have been written by someone who is translating from a foreign language, most of the writing will be in “broken” English. Another thing to look out for is a complicated checkout process (i.e. it takes several steps rather than simply entering your address and then your payment information). If the site that you are visiting checks off any of these things that was mentioned, abort purchasing your jersey immediately.

Is it easy to get in touch with the seller?

If you have any suspicions that the website you are looking to purchase a jersey (or any other type of licensed product) from may be fake, a great way to check up on this is by looking at their “contact us” section. Most licensed retailers will make it extremely easy for their customers to get in touch with them by offering several methods. For example through IceJerseys, we provide our customers with a way to contact us by email, phone or fax. We also provide our warehouse address on our site. If a website’s “contact us” either contains minimal information or is non-existent, that should be an immediate red flag. Bottom line, if a company/website does not make it easy for you to contact them, shop elsewhere!

What shipping methods are used and where is your jersey being shipped from?

Another potential red flag that the website you are browsing on may be selling knock -off apparel is by checking out the methods of shipment that is being offered. If the site is a reputable company that sells licensed goods, they would offer shipping services from the major North American couriers (remember; while sports leagues like the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB are globally popular, most of their products will be sold out of North America). These couriers include companies such as FedEx, UPS, Purolator, Canada Post, US Post etc. If you do not recognize the name of the courier and cannot easily look them up, that is a very strong tell that you’re not browsing a legitimate website. We mentioned the website’s location in the previous tip. If you see that the location of their company is somewhere off-shore, such as China, that is yet another sign that the website is likely selling knock-off apparel.

If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is!

While this point may seem rather obvious to those that are familiar with the prices of sports team jerseys, it is less obvious to the casual fan. It would be even less so for someone that is not a sports fan, but rather is looking to purchase a gift for someone who is. The last thing you want to do in that case is to gift someone with a knock-off jersey. So, in order to save some embarrassment, take a look at the price tag associated to the jersey that you are attempting to purchase. Here at IceJerseys, our prices for jerseys are very comparable to other licensed retailers out there. So for example, an NHL jersey will cost you $179.90 USD, an NFL jersey will cost $149.90, an MLB jersey can range from about $100-$200 USD and an NBA jersey $109.90 USD. If you see a jersey from any of those leagues listed at a significantly lower price than what we mentioned, it’s very likely that it is a knock-off. Obviously, some exceptions do exist. For example, we have several Reebok NHL jerseys listed at $129.90 USD (a decent amount less than they used to be); this is because they are no longer the most “modern” jersey, as Adidas has taken over the NHL jersey production. Another exception would be our No Jersey Left Behind [insert link], in which all jerseys listed are licensed product but they have been significantly marked down for specific reasons (such as minor blemishes, sizing is off, etc). So, if you see an NHL jersey listed for something like $59.90 on a website that you’ve never heard of, chances are very high that is it fake!

When possible, thoroughly inspect the jersey!

If you are a passionate sports fan, chances are very likely that you’ll be able to tell if a jersey is fake or not by simply inspecting it. However, if you aren’t familiar with jerseys, here are a handful of tips for you that could help you determine if the jersey you are about to purchase is real or a knock-off. The first thing that you should do is thoroughly inspect the jersey itself. There are a few very obvious signs of a fake jersey. For one, the jersey will be slightly off color; more often than not, the colors will be brighter than the officially licensed jersey would be. Secondly, take a very close look at all of the logos on the jersey (team logo, league shield and brand name). If it is fake, the team logo would likely have been made with multi-layered material rather than being embroidered like the official ones. As for the league shield and the brand logo, they would simply not match what the real logos are. Comparing the logos to a jersey that you know is a real licensed jersey (be it in person or by photograph) would make this very obvious. Another thing that you can do is flip the jersey inside-out. If you take a look at the backside of the places that had things (logo, name, number etc) sewn onto the jersey, if the jersey is a knock-off there would be a cardboard-like material that outlines the parts that were sewn. On a licensed jersey, the areas that were sewn on the inside would be much cleaner, with the only thing visible being the thread that was used for the sewing. These are just a few examples of how to tell if a jersey is real or not when it is in hand; there will be a future blog post that will go in depth (with photos) to help show you what to look for!

Today, the reality is that there are almost just as many fraudulent jersey manufacturers and vendors as there are licensed ones. However, if you follow the above 5 tips carefully, you shouldn’t have a problem distinguishing the real real ones from the fake ones. Hopefully you now have enough information to be able to confidently shop online for a sports jersey of your preference!


As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us

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