World Cup jersey sales have yet to pick up steam

Sales of football and cricket kits in markets across the country have started ahead of the two sports’ biggest international competitions that are expected to mesmerize an ocean of fans and supporters around the world.

Australia will host the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup starting today. And just seven days after cricket’s showpiece event ends, the FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar from November 20.

Businessmen said any World Cup usually gets people excited a few months in advance, but this year was a bit different.

The sales season for both sports in Bangladesh normally starts in June, but nowadays business has been lackluster due to the fallout from the pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war which have driven up the prices of raw materials, gas and energy.

People’s purchasing power has been drastically reduced while the cost of living has risen amid runaway inflation across the world.

Cricket-mad Bangladeshis became die-hard football fans ahead of the World Cup, mostly supporting Argentina or Brazil.

Taking advantage of their zeal, businessmen do good business in sportswear and related merchandise during the season.

This gives a big boost to the annual sale of sportswear and merchandise in Bangladesh and it is growing gradually. According to rough estimates, it reached between Tk 1,000 crore and Tk 1,200 crore.

The Daily Star spoke to a number of businessmen recently. Among them, Saiful Islam Bacchu, owner of Khelaghor in Pabna, said that kit sales had not started in a big way in Pabna as they were selling at best three to four a day.

He said that in their line of business, sales were generally more focused on World Cup football than cricket.

“Pabna is one of the neighborhoods with a lot of sporting commitments, where you see huge excitement around the football World Cup before, during and after a World Cup, which results in the sale of many sports jerseys and accessories,” he said.

“I have two types of jerseys (based on fabric quality) which are sold in the range of Tk 250-Tk 350,” he added.

Rangolal Talukder, owner of GM Sports in the town of Sylhet, said sales of kits focused on international competitions started in the town two months ago but were slow.

“There are 40 sports accessory stores in Sylhet. Most of the stores get… (stock) from Dhaka. We also bring in accessories from overseas. But we couldn’t import this time. so our stores with locally made products,” he said.

“But the presence of customers is rare. The T20 World Cup is knocking at the door… I hope the pace of sales will increase,” he said.

“There are five types of jerseys (based on fabric quality) in our store. The price range of these jerseys starts at Tk 520 and ends at Tk 1,200,” he added.

Sujan Das, owner of Fitness Fast in Chattogram, said they import sporting goods, including jerseys, in bulk. But this time it was difficult due to an increase in the exchange rate of the dollar with the taka and additional banking requirements.

“As a result, we had to source jerseys and other sports equipment and accessories locally. We are now selling our existing products. magnitude in Chattogram,” he said. said.

Shamim Hossain, chairman of the Bangladesh Sporting Goods Manufacturers and Importers Association, said there were once just a few companies that focused solely on Gulistan but now they have spread all over.

“There are now 250-300 more stores in Gulistan area and about 500 stores in Dhaka, which means the market for sports accessories is growing day by day. They are everywhere, be it in neighborhoods, towns or cities,” he said.

“People in Bangladesh are very fond of cricket. But the demand for football shirts exceeds that of cricket,” he said.

“I think around 40% of customers buy the shirt from Argentina and 35% from Brazil in Bangladesh,” he said.

“This time fewer people are coming to buy shirts. There is still a month left for the FIFA World Cup. So let’s see what happens eventually,” Shamim added.

Omar Chisty Sunny, owner of Sports Center in Dhaka, said they sell kits wholesale and retail. “We sell about 10 to 15 shirts a day,” he said.

“…we hope sales will increase. These are great opportunities for businessmen to make money,” he said.

Md Hanif Sheikh, owner of Mukta Khelaghore in the capital, said they had not imported any kits due to pandemic restrictions, dwindling foreign exchange reserves and complexities with letters of credit.

“We mainly import sports accessories including jerseys from China. This time we cannot do it due to some difficulties,” he said.

Sports & Sportz Design, an authorized manufacturer and seller of sportswear for Bangladesh Cricket Board, produces a new design for the Bangladesh Cricket Team kit ahead of the T20 World Cup.

They will release kits, tracksuits, jackets and caps of this design, owner Mehtabuddin Anwar Ahmad Sentu said.

Former cricketer Tarek Aziz Khan, owner of TK Sports in Dhaka, said business was more or less average.

“For Covid-19, I have closed three of my outlets. Now I have two outlets running, one of which is in the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium area,” said he declared.

“I sell my own products in my outlets. But this time I didn’t produce a new World Cup shirt,” Khan added.

Goalkeeper-beater Anamul Haque Bijoy opened Solco Sports in Dhaka a week ago. He said he has a good collection of foreign and locally made products, but has not yet received a good response from customers.

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