The loss of Portugal at the hands of Germany in their opening encounter of Euro 2012 has not deterred the spirit of 24-year-old Mahesh Jain,an ardent supporter of Cristiano Ronaldo. They are going to win the Euro Cup this year, he says,clad in Portuguese colours from top to bottom.
For Jain and thousands of other football fans across India,Euro 2012 is more than just supporting their respective global teams and cheering wildly. Jerseys,team colours,official game balls,scarves and T-shirts they have all become extensions of this fanhood. Little surprise then,that major apparel brands such as Nike and Adidas have started stocking the items in India as they also sponsor the teams in Euro 2012.
The teams that find prominent support include Germany,France,Spain,the Netherlands and Portugal. Interestingly,England and Italy,which are sponsored by Umbro,do not find any takers,primarily owing to the non-availability of the merchandise. Shahid Sheikh,one of the managers at a Nike store in Pune,says,Even though Nike sponsors a quarter of the teams playing in the championship,only the bigger teams with players who are regular faces at the English Premier League,the Spanish and the German Bundesliga,are popular, he says.
A jersey costs as much as Rs 3,300 at Nike and Rs 3,000 at Adidas,but Sheikh mentions that there are cheaper options available. The pre-game shirts and the post-match shirts are priced significantly cheaper,around Rs 1,200 to 1,800. Other merchandise like scarves,caps and the team balls,are all priced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500, he mentions. While the official jerseys are made in Thailand and Philippines; the pre-match and post-match T-shirts are made in India,Pakistan and Bangladesh.
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