Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in dramatic fashion with a golden goal in extra time by Mario Goetze. Argentina were left second best in the tournament but when it comes to football jersey sales in Mumbai, the South American nation (Argentina) leads all the way.
Fans sport Lionel Messi’s Argentina jersey
Argentina’s jersey No 10 which is worn by their talismanic player Lionel Messi has been the most in-demand football jersey in the city. Jiren Shah, manager, Selection Centre Sports Pvt, Dhobitalao says, “There has been a tremendous rise in the number of jerseys sold from 2010 to 2014. In our store Argentina and Messi jerseys were in top demand especially before the final. More than 500 jerseys were sold in the last 10 days.”
German fans put on their nation’s football kit
The craze for Messi shoes and his Barcelona jersey was also high. Dhyan Ganatra, Head of Department, Sales at Yogi Sporting Goods, Borivali says, “This World Cup has a special Messi line of shoes that were unveiled. When Argentina made the final; many young people came to buy these that are priced at R 5,999. Besides, the Argentina kit even his Barcelona jersey saw a huge rise in sales. India has a number of Messi maniacs.”
Football themed parties
Ashoka Sports, Andheri saw a huge demand for team merchandise like footballs, shoes, flags and wrist bands. Varun Aggarwal, store proprietor says, “During the last month many corporate sector companies ordered footballs, flags, jerseys and wrist bands in bulk from our shop. The football craze had swept the business world with many choosing to have football bashes. Argentina, Brazil and Germany were the countries whose merchandise was most sold.”
Aggarwal adds, “The jersey manufacturers of our store had bulk orders of England, Portugal, Spain and Italy made. But sadly the likes of Columbia, Mexico, United States of America and Costa Rica stunned them. There were major losses suffered as these teams did not make the knockout stages and their jerseys went unsold. We had a sale to clear these out, but the demand did not meet supply and so we are still stuck with a large stock.”
“The Brazil and Argentina jerseys are evergreen and sell even if it isn’t football season,” says Harshad Shah, owner Galaxy Sports, Marine Lines. “There has been a 20 per cent rise in the demand for football related merchandise. Mesut Ozil jerseys for Germany, Neymar for Brazil and Messi for Argentina were our top sells.
We went in for the younger players as Indians are fans of the English Premier League and La Liga clubs, so they follow these players closely. We will also be able to sell these jerseys in 2018 when the World Cup happens again,” adds Shah.
Beautiful game lovers
According to Bhartindra Thakur, owner Bharti Sports, Kandivali football lovers have increased in India in the last four years. He says, “Majority of the people who came to my store weren’t brand conscious they wanted good footballs. More than memorabilia they came to buy a football that they could play with.
The monsoon, World Cup or not always sees a rise in football sales which was seen this time, too. The official World Cup ball costs R 7,800 which is a little out of the budget for the common man in Mumbai, people mostly went in for footballs in the R 1,700 to 3,000 range. We sold almost 2,000 footballs in the World Cup month.”
Thakur adds, “Since, Germany won the World Cup we have sold 50 German jerseys and have had to order 100 more, as the demand for the winning team’s kit has now risen. People want Miroslav Klose’s No 11 jersey and Goetze’s jersey. The German goal scorer has suddenly become a hero usurping Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Mueller when it comes to German player’s jerseys popular in the city.”
Ganpat Chundagar, of Mulund’s New Ganpule sports shop says, “After Spain went out the team jersey which was popular at the start of the tournament saw a huge dip in sales. From selling 10-15 Spanish jerseys at the start of the World Cup we saw zero demand for them. Argentina jersey demand beat Germany in the run up to the final at our store.”
Rise of the fans
Though the Netherlands finished in third place sales of the Dutch team jersey was poor across the city. Thakur explains, “Germany, Brazil and Argentina are multiple World Cup winners. As retailers we foresaw them going far and so stocked these. Even though people supported Holland after they played well in the group stages, there was more demand for Robin van Persie’s Manchester United jersey rather than his Dutch one.”
Agreeing with Thakur, Aggarwal says, “Brazil and Argentina jerseys will sell for the next four years as they are nations identified with football. German jerseys, like Spain in 2010, will sell a lot for the next month as fans will want to have the champion team’s kit. But beyond that, the La Liga and Premier League jerseys will win the battle.”
“Football fans are increasing and many Indians are choosing to buy jerseys and merchandise associated with their favourite players but compared to cricket the sales are still low. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid jersey is sold more than his Portugal one as fans know that his team isn’t strong. But on the whole, the jerseys have ruled the merchandise market this football World Cup,” ends Shah.