June 20 (Bloomberg) -- More U.S. soccer apparel sold on Fanatics.com in the first five days of the 2014 World Cup than during the entire 2010 event, according to the world’s largest online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise.
Merchandise of U.S. captain Clint Dempsey, who scored the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history in a 2-1 defeat of Ghana on June 16, is the second-highest selling of all soccer players, trailing only Brazilian forward Neymar. Both rank in the top 10 for athletes in all sports, according to the Jacksonville, Florida-based company, which doesn’t release figures.
The growing support for the U.S. team has caught the players’ attention, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya said a day after the Ghana win. That game produced ESPN’s highest ratings since the college football national title game in January.
“I woke up this morning and looked on Instagram and Twitter and saw the posts and videos of people reacting at bars, pubs and out in Chicago at the event they had there,” Bedoya said. “It’s awesome that we’re part of this movement of growing soccer in the States. So it’s really cool, and I’m sure everybody feeds off this energy.”
Brazil, which is hosting the tournament for the first time since 1950, beat Croatia in the World Cup opener before tying Mexico three days ago. The Netherlands has scored a World Cup-high eight goals in two games.
After Neymar and Dempsey, the best-selling players are strikers Robin van Persie of the Netherlands, Germany’s Thomas Mueller, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi of Argentina. Those rankings include sales of jerseys and t-shirts.
Fanatics.com has sold World Cup merchandise in 37 countries since the event began on June 12. The company operates online stores for North American leagues and teams including the National Football League and National Basketball Association.
The U.S. will reach the round of 16 if it beats Portugal June 22 and Germany avoids defeat against Ghana the same day. The U.S., which wraps up its group play against Germany on June 26, has never advanced from the group stage at consecutive World Cups.
Four years ago in South Africa, the U.S. fell in the round of 16 to Ghana. It was the third time the team went past the group stage since it finished third in the inaugural World Cup in 1930.
New York is Fanatics’s top-selling market, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Chicago.
(A previous version of this story incorrectly said player ranks were based on jersey sales alone.)
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