With the high voltage India-Pakistan cricket World Cup match set to be aired at 9am on Sunday, the bats are out and fans are padded up for what could be one of the most watchable matches since 1992.
The cricket world cup merchandise and memorabilia has been selling like hot cakes in the tricity. Nike, the official kit sponsor for the national team, has been flooded with visitors in most stores.
“Team India jerseys have been flying off our shelves. We have sold 80% of our caps and jerseys in the past three days itself. We have ordered a fresh batch of jerseys, as more and more people are streaming in to buy them, especially before the India-Pakistan encounter on Sunday,” says Uma Shankar, the manager of a Nike store in Sector 17, Chandigarh.
“We have had customers who’ll be watching the match on TV, but they are still buying jerseys as it gives the feel of cheering from the stadium,” adds Uma Shankar.
The official Nike jerseys are priced at Rs 4,995, which is an exact replica of the ones that the players will don on the field. They even have stadium jerseys (Rs 3,795) and fan T-shirts (Rs 1800).
For those who find the prices steep, sports stores across the city are offering similar jerseys for as low as Rs 500. Bats are available in various sports stores between Rs 300 and Rs 3,500.
For 12-year-old Angad, the final exams are not nearly as important as Virat Kohli. “What will I do with just a bat, I’ll need pads too to be like Virat Kohli,” Angad reasons with his father on being denied a pair of pads.
Even as youngsters are thronging to support Team India in every possible way, retailers are targeting them as most of their customers are below the age of 14.
“Most of them aren’t content with just buying a bat. They go ahead and buy a ball, a pair of pads or an entire cricket kit,” says Vipin Kathuria, who runs Sai Sports in Sector 20. The exam fever has in no way affected the enthusiasm of these fans. On the contrary, it has pegged them to prepare a time-table with slots for both studies and cricket.
Online no match
The presence of e-commerce websites and discounts have hardly affected the brick-andmortar stores. Despite a plethora of offers and goodies being offered online, fans are thronging stores to gear themselves up.
“The offers available online haven’t affected our sales. Not only are we selling a lot of jerseys, a lot of people are ordering miniature world cup trophies,” says Vipin Kathuria.
Some websites like Myntra, Amazon and ICC’s official website are banking on unique elements like balls signed by Sachin Tendulkar, 1992 World Cup jerseys, and personalised cricket shoes by Nike where you can get your name embossed.
Chandigarh seems to be sticking to the traditional means and are buying their bats and jerseys off sports stores. What is possibly a surprise sale for shopkeepers, is that there is considerable demand for Australia jerseys too.
Help for early birds
India has never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup and the score stands at 5-0 right now. Shopkeepers are cashing in on this with some of them claiming that their sales have tripled in the past two days.
“We plan to open our store at 8am on Sunday as a lot of our regular customers have told us that they will be buying jerseys early in the morning before heading for the screening of the India-Pakistan match,” says Anush Kalra, who works at United Sports, Sector 22, Chandigarh.