With the 21st FIFA World Cup underway, you can find soccer fans worldwide proudly displaying their country's jerseys — but you'd be hard-pressed to find a team kit as in demand as that of Nigeria's Super Eagles.
Featuring a lime green and white zigzag pattern, the Nike-designed jersey sold out in a matter of minutes as eager fans queued up, ready to spend $90.
Prior to its official June 1 release date, Nike had already received 3 million pre-orders for the jersey, according to the Nigerian Football Federation. That sets a new pre-order record for an African team and even some of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. To put that into perspective, top-three soccer club Manchester United sold the most jerseys globally in 2016, with 2.85 million sales.
Such high demand for a Nigerian jersey is unprecedented, but its unique retro design makes it broadly appealing to fashionistas and sports enthusiasts alike, NFF head Shefu Diko said in an interview with ESPN.
In 2015, the organization agreed to partner with Nike in a lucrative three-and-a-half-year deal worth $3.75 million — plus a $500,000 bonus if the Super Eagles qualified for the 2018 Russia World Cup, which they did. However, the continuing sale of fake jerseys could hurt future partnership deals and cheapen their overall brand, Diko told ESPN.
Currently, Nike does not plan on restocking the jerseys, the company's UK branch said in a tweet, a decision that's left many fans disappointed.
But if you're willing to shell out the cash, you can find jerseys advertised as authentic on websites such as eBay for $398, or three times the original cost.
Though the jerseys far exceeded fans' expectations, the team itself has yet to do the same. The Super Eagles suffered an opening 2-0 loss to Croatia last Saturday. On Friday, they face off against Iceland in their second group match.
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