Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Following India’s shocking 4-5 loss against New Zealand via penalty shoot-out in a crossover match in the ongoing FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023, Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar is witnessing lesser footfalls.

The impact of the Men in Blue’s premature exit was clearly evident across the fan park at the Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday. The organisers have done a good job to engage the fans at the stadium. The wonderful fan park is filled with food, entertainment stalls, and activities for spectators of all ages. There are also a few stalls selling sports equipment like jerseys and hockey sticks. However, the stalls and sports shops are experiencing lesser crowds.

Hockey fans are disappointed over India’s early exit in the tournament and that reflects in their lack of interest in buying sports equipment.

“We sold nearly 500 jerseys on Saturday and Sunday. However, we have not even sold 200 for the last two days,” said a stall vendor selling hockey merchandise. 

“There was a huge demand for jerseys, hockey sticks and other sports merchandise. However, the footfall has reduced more than 50 per cent and it has hit our business hard,” said another vendor.

Most of the vendors are now considering reducing the prices of the goods to attract buyers.

“Winning and losing is part of the game. When India won, we made good business. However, the situation has changed now and we have to adopt our business strategy accordingly,” said a stall owner.