Since its launch in 1992, Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports Logos (CAPS) has seized over 10 million pieces of counterfeit sports merchandise on behalf of its major league and collegiate members. CAPS values the merchandise it has seized at over $389 million.
The volume of merchandise seized by CAPS is a reflection of the success and consumer demand for sports-related apparel bearing the trademarks and names of big league players like Michael Jordan and others. According to statistics provided by the International Licensing Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) in 2014,the sports category had $698 million in royalty revenue on retail sales of $12.8 billion, while a separate collegiate category had revenues from licensing estimated at $209 million, or $3.88 billion at retail.
Pete Rozelle who started out as the head of public relations for the Los Angeles Rams and became Commissioner of the NFL in 1959, is largely responsible for the major leagues moving into sports licensing. Rozelle established National Football League (NFL) Properties in 1963. The other major leagues followed with Major League Baseball Properties, formed in 1966. The National Basketball Association Properties was formed in 1967. The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), formed in 1981, licenses and markets apparel and other items for over 200 colleges and universities.