Mega sporting event means big business. Predictably, the flavour this monsoon is the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Brazil.
The retail sports industry is cashing in on the carnival. “Booming sales of jerseys, flags, and mementos at sports shops in Kozhikode are a reflection of the soccer fever,” says V. Hamshid, a wholesale sports goods vendor. Majority of them, however, merchandise more jerseys, flags, and tattoos than footballs and boots. But there are enquiries for Adidas Brazuca, the official ball of the World Cup. Brazuca has an ornamental value. Enthusiasts want it in their showcases, corporates in their front offices.
“The ball is priced high. The original polyurethane-made ball costs Rs.7,700. But, we have sold all the 12 displayed in our showrooms. Adidas supplied only 160 balls to India,” said Abdul Nizar, head of the Cosmos Sports, at Puthiyara.
Shops also sell two other types of Adidas football priced between Rs.2,000- 2,500. Flags of popular teams — Brazil and Argentina — are much in demand. “The flags of underdog Belgium are also in demand. Youngsters prefer the vertical tricolour of black, yellow, and red,” he said. Flags command a price in the range Rs.80-Rs.800. “Many of our customers are from Malappuram,” said K. Prasad of Saraswathi Musicals and Sports, Oyitty Road.
Jerseys of favourite teams, mostly Brazil and Argentina, are already a fad with college students. But they are also takers for Portugal, Spain, and England jerseys. “We brought them from Mumbai and Tirupur. The locally stitched ones cost Rs.150-160 but quality stuff are fixed above Rs.350,” he said.
Original jerseys are made of technologically advanced polyester. The Nike Dri-Fit technology controls sweat and the laser-cut ventilation holes create air flow. But only a few could afford them.
P.S Abdul Gafoor of Afi Sports on the Oasis Compound said caps, kerchiefs, wristbands, headbands, and tattoos were other items in the market. Clubs order them in bulk from retail stores. Mobile phone covers, coffee mugs, and mouse pads were now given as gifts. “After all the fever is growing with every quadrennial,” he said.