Soc­cer’s Big­gest Un­der­dog Made Many Fans, Not Shirts

Le­ices­ter City soc­cer team, un­pre­pared for pop­u­lar­ity, have run out of kits

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

New York: In its im­prob­a­ble run to the top of the English Premier League, the Le­ices­ter City soc­cer team has cap­tured fans across the globe. If those con­verts want a team jer­sey, though, they’re out of luck. Un­pre­pared for their sud­den pop­u­lar­ity, the Foxes have run out of kits.

The of­fi­cial club shop at King Power Sta­dium in Le­ices­ter sold the last of its stock months ago — even the man­nequins have been stripped. The same is true in Thai­land, the home of the team’s own­ers, where sup­port for Le­ices­ter, a team that has never won a top flight ti­tle in its 132-year ex­is­tence, has grown with each vic­tory. On the team’s web­site, the only avail­able ap­parel from this sea­son’s uni­forms is a pair of blue socks.

A team spokesman said this sea­son’s “replica kit sales have bro­ken all records, with un­prece­dented de­mand lea- ding to limited avail­abil­ity head­ing into the fi­nal stages of the sea­son.” Puma SE, the team’s jer­sey maker, de­clined to com­ment. Andy An­son, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Kit­bag, which runs on­line stores of sev­eral of the world’s top soc­cer teams, in­clud­ing Manch­ester United and Real Madrid, said Le­ices­ter may be leav­ing as much as 1 mil­lion pounds ($1.5 mil­lion) on the ta­ble.

Teams typ­i­cally buy a year’s worth of mer­chan­dise be­fore the sea­son starts, An­son said. Le­ices­ter, which barely hung on to its Premier League stand­ing last sea­son, didn’t an­tic­i­pate be­com­ing a global Cin­derella.

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