The Investigators: real vs. fake Liberty Bowl merchandise - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: real vs. fake Liberty Bowl merchandise

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By Andy Wise - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - The Action News 5 Investigators confirmed detectives with the Shelby County Sheriff's ALERT Unit (Area Law Enforcement & Retailers Team, will patrol the AutoZone Liberty Bowl game Dec. 31.

Their target: unlicensed vendors selling counterfeit merchandise.

Champion Awards & Apparel (, 3649 Winplace Rd, is the exclusive licensing director for all AutoZone Liberty Bowl merchandise. It also sells all of the sublicensing, overseeing every sanctioned game-day vendor on the Liberty Bowl's grounds.

Its employees make the official game-day shirts right at Champion's Southeast Memphis headquarters:  2,500 shirts an hour; $80,000 in AutoZone Liberty Bowl product.

Bill Kinkade, Champion's Vice President of Sales, said all officially licensed AutoZone Liberty Bowl game-day merchandise must meet three criteria:

1. THE LOGO. Merchandise must have the AutoZone Liberty Bowl "shield" logo. It must also include AutoZone's trademarks, either the standard "TM" or "R" designators.

"All the university logos (University of Central Florida, University of Georgia) are licensed as well, so there's about three licensing entities involved in this product," said Kinkade.

2. THE COLORS. "We feature TEAM-colored shirts -- black being for Central Florida and a red obviously for the Dawgs," Kinkade said. Black is also used for the official "head-to-head" (helmet to helmet) game-day shirt.

"Any deviant color from that is obviously not licensed."

3. THE LOCATION. "If it's sold outside the grounds of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl stadium, it is illegal," said Kinkade. "It is a bootleg, and it is counterfeit."

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