India…India….India…India. That is something you won’t be hearing in this 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Coming to the sore point about our country’s participation in the global event, even though we have a population of more than 1.3 Billion of which more than 50% fall under the age of 25. It baffles me why we cannot have a team capable enough to make it all the way. Again, I am not trying to demean the efforts of the existing players and in no way suggesting they are incompetent. It is more to do with the environment and facilities that are almost non-existent. We have never been part of any world cup although the team did qualify by default in 1950 after all the other nations in our qualification group withdrew. However, we withdrew prior to the beginning of the tournament.
There has been some progress lately and we are seeing a shift in sports preference from the newer generation and thanks to the huge investments in football by Reliance, the ISL has grown considerably popular and viewership has increased year on year. The audience with the exposure to the various European leagues fixtures and UEFA’s various formats have accepted football as a viewing sport and the matches have made itself a talking point amongst youngsters, with each one choosing a team which they associate. The fan base for each team has considerably increased especially the teams from England and Spain and the largest followers being for Real Madrid which stands at 77.3 Million across all digital platforms.
FIFA brings in great interest in football and most fans are for Argentina and Brazil, with Portugal, England, Germany, Spain and Italy being the other countries. We see great enthusiasm and match screenings are the new way to catch up with friends. The world cup truly gets people together irrespective of your country’s participation and this particularly holds true for us. SET India the broadcast partners for the world cup has used this as a campaign idea and created an amazing connect with the audience using the idea “Meri Doosri Country”.
Russia 2018 will be a defining world cup for two of greatest legends to grace the field; Messi and Ronaldo. It will probably be their last world cup and both with their respective teams will try their very best to lift the golden trophy. One team that will be missed is Italy and it is still something the fans need to overcome. The world cup has always seen Italy’s participation and this will be the first time in 60 years that the Azzuris have not qualified considering they are 4 time champions and have players of exceptional quality. Of the other teams Brazil is always the crowd favourite because of the way they play, its pure magic. They will this time be out for revenge against Germany for the humiliating defeat they suffered at home turf in 2014. Germany the current holders will try to do a double. The team looks in good shape apart from a few ageing players. My dark horse is the Belgian side A.K.A Red Devils. They are the side to watch out as they have players with exceptional talent and good both in attack and defence. Let us hope to see a fantastic battle between the teams and I am hoping my doosri country wins.
On the merchandise front we have been witnessing this change from early 2013, when we first decided to take a shot at the FIFA world cup 2014. We were unsure of how a cricket crazy country would react to the merchandise though we knew that as an aspirational sport the merchandise would sell coupled with the interest in football. Our bet paid off and we did some unbelievable sales. This gave us confidence to look at football offerings more closely. We now have Real Madrid and of course FIFA 2018 merchandise in the market with more categories activated.
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia has a whole host of authentic licensed merchandise ranging from Apparel to Bags, Sippers, Footballs, Footwear, gifts and novelties and more with prices beginning at INR 299. The Alcis 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia fan wear range comprises over 550 products with T-Shirts, Polo T-shirts, Shorts, Track pants, Tracksuits, Hoodies, Jackets, Sweatshirts, Jerseys and Caps. The range starts at INR 399. The merchandise is available from 1000+ apparel stores and large format stores like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Max Retail, Central, Globus, Sports Station along with leading e-commerce platforms.
So while you will be watching the biggest sporting event from 14th of this month, do show your love for the assortment of merchandise we have put out for you. Help us create more fanatics and support our cause, which is none except it makes good business.