The Best Selling Football Jerseys in the World
In April, Euromericas Sport Marketing (ESM) released data on the top selling football jerseys in European Football. Whilst the source of their data is questionable, ESM has taken on the role of ‘expert’, having published an annual list since 2010. Further, their order is relatively consistent with other sources including www.sportingintelligence.com.
Top 10 Football Jerseys Sold in the World in 2018
10. Manchester City – 1,085,000
It may take another decade of success before Manchester City can expect their jersey sales to rise to the top of the list. With a multitude of foreign stars and home grown talent on their books, in addition to on field success (well they have won the EPL title the last two years), they haven’t done a lot wrong to lift their prestige.
9. Paris St Germain – 1,146,000
Like Man City, PSG have a plethora of foreign and home grown talent. Further, there onfield success should be considered even better than their English counterparts. While they remain near the bottom of the Top 10, they should at least be happy to know their jersey sales have grown by almost 50% in 2 years.
8. Borussia Dortmund – 1,205,000
After a couple of seasons of local success from 2010 to 2012, Borussia Dortmund has more recently relied on homegrown talent to seek success on the park. With Bayern Munich’s domination of the Bundesliga, the best result Dortmund has achieved is runner up four times in the last seven seasons. It might be a little surprising then to see them feature so prominently in the Top 10.
Whilst Chelsea finished 1st in the EPL in 2016/2017, they also have several international stars that enhance their jersey sales. Regardless, sales have dropped by just under 10% over the last couple of years and they have gone from 4th to 7th in terms of worldwide jersey sales. With the departure of Eden Hazard in 2019, perhaps a big name signing will reignite their jersey sales.
Juventus announced that they had sold 520,000 Ronaldo jerseys in 24 hours after the official Ronaldo kit was released. It’s hard to believe almost one third of their annual sales came in just 24 hours. In addition to his signing & continued onfield success, Juve’s sales have almost doubled in 3 years.
Philippe Countinho was in the Top 10 individual jersey sales in 2018 whilst at Liverpool. His departure to Barcelona may have seen their overall sales fall significantly. Step up Mo Salah! Like Juventus, worldwide jersey sales have more than doubled over the last 3 years for Liverpool. Their amazing 2018/2019 season will surely provide a ‘halo’ effect in 2018/2019. Talks of Mbappe joining the club in 2019 would send their sales further into the stratosphere.
Wherever you go in the world, there always seems to be more kids wearing Messi’s Barcelona jersey than any other. It is somewhat surprising then that Barcelona come in at 4. Even more surprising to see how far they are behind Real Madrid. Maybe non-official kits effect Barcelona sales more than others, though when Ronaldo was with Real Madrid, there were still a lot of kids donning their strip.
Like many of the Top 10 alumni, Bayern Munich’s squad has a neat blend of homegrown talent and foreign stars. Robben and Ribery have been stars at the Club for 10 years and 12 years respectively. Having won the Bundesliga title 15 of the last 20 seasons, ensuring even greater exposure with the Champions League, it is no real surprise to see them near the top.
We are still working from 2018 numbers in this list, so Ronaldo was still in Madrid for at least half the year. They seem to have enough brand equity in the tank to ensure their numbers remain strong and with their performance dipping below their high standards in the 2018/2019 season, it remains to be seen whether this and the departure of Ronaldo will affect their numbers. In any case, the return of Zidane as Manager can only enhance their title and jersey sale prospects.
The only real surprise here, is that Manchester United have continued to grow their jersey sales, despite what can be described as below par performances in recent years. But let’s be honest, they had set the bar high to begin with. Still, with foreign stars such as Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Lukaku and De Gea, some of the highest individual jersey sales reside.
Why is the sale of football Jerseys such Big Business?
Apart from the major financial injection Club’s receive from principal sponsors, they also attract big dollars from sporting goods manufacturers. Simply, the more merchandise they can sell, the more interested Adidas, Nike, Puma or other renowned brands become.
Barcelona receives over 55 million Euros per year from Rakuten (a Japanese Internet service provider) as principal sponsor. This figure is overshadowed by the staggering 155 million Euros per year they receive from Nike to provide the kit.
Spike in Jersey Sales
Jersey sales usually spike when a Club with a new principal sponsor release the new strip. Manchester United’s deal with principal sponsor Chevrolet has been in place since 2014 and their results on the pitch are well below expectations. According to ESM, surprisingly, they have managed to not only grow their shirt sales in 2018, but maintain first position.
Whilst performances on the pitch will have an impact on jersey sales, the arrival of stars such as Ronaldo at Juventus or Mo Salah’s record breaking performances at Liverpool, inject life into jersey sales that may otherwise have plateaued.
One or even two seasons of success is not enough to ensure ongoing growth in jersey sales. Continued success over a long period will enhance this prospect. When Leicester won the EPL in 2015/16 they had been averaging less than 50,000 jerseys sales per year. Their win resulted in sales soaring 15 fold (750,000). Their inability to back up year in, year out since then has resulted in their sales declining back to the norm.
Surprising absences from the Top 10 include the likes of Arsenal, even when Mesut Ozil is one of the most popular individual jerseys in the world. Again, their inability to perform to expectations has resulted in them dropping out of the top 10 Clubs for jersey sales globally.
AC Milan’s decline is even more perilous. Having finished 5th, 6th twice, 7th, 10th and 8th over the last 6 years, they no longer appear in the top 10 Clubs for jersey sales. The absence of out and out Superstars such as Kaka, Shevchenko, Ibrahimovic and van Basten from their glory days, in addition to a decline in their performance have resulted in jersey sales almost halving.
Double Edged Sword
When signing a big name player, Clubs take a risk. The signing can result in success; get it wrong and they are supporting the leader board. The EPL is littered with these stories over the years. Similarly, these results flow through to jersey sales. The signing of Ronaldo in 2018 by Juventus for 112 Million Euros resulted in the sale of jerseys in 24 hours totalling almost 56 million Euros. After signing Ronaldo, Juve went onto to extend its deal with Adidias at 51 Million Euro per year. It seems on the face of it, good business.
But what if Ronaldo was injured? What if Juventus went into a form slump? What if a resurgent Napoli continued their climb? These are the risks they take.
The Year Ahead
The season ahead will be an interesting one as far as jersey sales go. AC Milan and Arsenal have demonstrated what can happen to a team’s jersey sales if their performance fails to meet expectations. Manchester U
although maintaining their position as the world leader in jersey sales, cannot maintain this position in the absence of onfield success. Barcelona are evergreen, Messi’s shirts are everywhere. Liverpool had an amazing 2018/2019 with many supporting them as a sentimental second team. Who will it be? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.by