Bangladesh has become a lucrative destination for sports jerseys for its price competitiveness, exporters said.
The sector for jerseys and specialised sports garments, a knitwear sub-category, has abundant work orders as demand for jerseys is on the rise with mega sports events taking place all year round, they said said.
It is a growing trend for the youth in the West to wear sports jerseys casually as well.
Bangladesh sells a single jersey for $5 to $6, while the same costs much higher in China, the largest apparel supplier worldwide, according to industry insiders.
Bangladeshi manufacturers export jerseys to brands like Nike, Puma, Adidas, G-Star, H&M and M&S, said Mohammad Hatem, vice-president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
At least 20 factories in Bangladesh have exported jerseys for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, said Hatem. “Many factories export sports garment items all year round.”
Bangladesh earns more than $1 billion through the exports of jerseys and sports garments a year, Hatem added.
“I have already shipped 5.6 million pieces of jerseys to Brazil as the World Cup is about to begin next month,” said Shahdad Hossain Shameem, managing director of Stylex, a leading garments maker.
Bangladesh does not supply football players' jerseys; the country mainly exports T-shirts and jerseys for spectators and supporters of different teams during big sports events globally, he added.
“I shipped more than two million pieces of jerseys, mainly for spectators, during the last European Championship Cup.”
The prospect of sports garment business is bright, as many retailers are still placing work orders in Bangladesh, Shameem said. At the same time, manufacturers also need to maintain standards of the products strictly, he added.
David Hasanat, managing director of Viyellatex Group, said: “Sports garment items have become a part of fashion now.”
Viyellatex also sent a few million pieces of jerseys to countries like Brazil and Argentina on the eve of World Cup, he said, adding that Bangladesh has a good share in the global sports garment business.
Momin Mondol, managing director of Mondol Group, another leading garments group, said he has supplied accessories for more than six million pieces of jerseys for the Brazil World Cup.
“I did not make jerseys, but I supplied accessories (like buttons and thread) through my retailers,” Mondol said. “I sent a good number of jerseys in the past for sports events like the World Cup in South Africa.”
DBL Group and Epyllion Group supplied eight million pieces of jerseys during the last FIFA World Cup, officials said.
Bangladesh exported knitwear worth $9.8 billion and woven garments worth $10.16 billion during July-April this fiscal year -- respectively 16.96 percent and 13.91 percent higher than those in the same period last fiscal year, according to Export Promotion Bureau.