And now, just like that, everyone wants Costa Rica’s jerseys. The World Cup uniform – with the simple one-stripe design – received much criticism for its bare-bones style. Mashable called the uniforms, created by Italian company Lotto, one of the worst designs at the 2014 World Cup. Tico fans didn’t care for them much, either. However, the apparel suddenly is a best seller thanks to the Ticos’ shocking appearance in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Brazil.
According to Reuters, Lotto is selling out jerseys faster than the sportswear brand can make them:
It is a rare triumph for a smaller kitmaker of an ilk that has been increasingly squeezed out of the World Cup with major brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma paying millions to hog the stage at the world’s most watched sporting event. Lotto is struggling to keep up with demand and says an extra 50,000 shirts have been sold since Costa Rica won their opening game against Uruguay. At Fifa’s online store the red home strip is no longer available in the usual short sleeves.
Out of the 32 teams that qualified for the World Cup, only five were not sponsored by Nike, Adidas or Puma. At the start of the World Cup, at least one bookmaker asked which sportswear manufacturer would the winning team wear? Lotto had the lowest odds, and now the Ticos are defying them.
Lotto President Andrea Tomat told Reuters that the brand began its relationship with Costa Rica during the country’s magical 1990 World Cup run. Those jerseys are even more difficult to find, Tomat said, adding “very few” still remained in the company’s possession.
The uniforms also received heavy critiquing from players after a friendly in early June against Japan. World Cup teams have worn uniforms that dry quickly in Brazil’s humidity, preventing players from getting weighed down in sweat. But in the midst of Costa Rica’s 3-1 loss in Tampa, Florida, members of La Sele seemed to be drowning in sweat.
At the last minute, Lotto redid the uniforms — making sure that the new conception would evaporate sweat. The change has paid off for both Costa Rica and Lotto. The Ticos have thrived in Brazil’s heat, winning two matches in stifling Recife and another in scorching Fortaleza. As a result, Lotto can’t sell enough La Sele jerseys to satisfy an unimaginable demand.