CINCINNATI (AP) — Major League Baseball has some advice for fans coming to Cincinnati for the All-Star Game: buyer beware.
Baseball officials and local authorities on Wednesday outlined plans to target sales of counterfeit tickets and merchandise, hoping to minimize lost revenues and keep fans from being ripped off by knockoffs or shut out of the July 14 game.
“Be smart,” said Ethan Orlinsky, an MLB senior vice president. “One of the things we do is … try to protect the fans against bad experiences.”
Orlinsky said high-demand events attract sophisticated counterfeiters selling cheaply made caps and T-shirts for $20 to $40 and bogus tickets for hundreds of dollars.
Undercover officers will be working the streets to look for counterfeiters. If the illicit operation is big, the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office will be called in, Orlinsky said.
He said it’s difficult to estimate the amount of money MLB loses because of counterfeiters because authorities don’t know how much goes undetected. A coalition that includes other professional sports leagues and the Collegiate Licensing Co. has seized nearly $400 million in counterfeit merchandise and related items over the last 22 years, he said.
An All-Star Game can result in 1,000 or so seized items, though only 200 to 300 items were seized at last year’s game in Minnesota.
Meanwhile, authorities leading security planning said they feel confident after more than a year of strategizing and drills with about 25 local, state and federal agencies including the FBI and Coast Guard. Ed Dadosky, an assistant Cincinnati fire chief leading security planning, said they’ve gone through numerous hypothetical scenarios to be ready.
City leaders moved quickly to calm concerns after a violent melee last Saturday night blamed on large groups of unchaperoned young people downtown for a concert. Two police officers were injured, a civilian was beaten, and police used riot gear while arresting seven people. Mayor John Cranley said there will be hundreds of officers on duty this weekend, besides other anti-crime measures.
Dan Sewell can be reached on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell