World football shirt sales supply the evidence that European clubs still dominate the sport and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Manchester United and Real Madrid are joint top of the table, with both clubs selling on average 1.2 – 1.5 million jerseys annually. The table below represents the hierarchy of contemporary football, with the leaders demonstrating their marketing power and vast source of revenue.
From a fashion perspective, it’s a good job Man United have the best marketing team in the world. Regardless of their less than spectacular looking jerseys, the red devils are ahead of the game when it comes to taking their fan base to the far corners of the earth. Manchester United have conquered the Asian market and are ahead in the race to take the States, following a large-scale preseason tour.
The commodity that is Real Madrid, is the most recognised name in domestic football. The history of world class players, and array of European titles have made the club one of the most successful and profitable ever. The endless list of signings matched by the enormous amount of money spent on players don’t just coincide with shirt sales; Real Madrid honor the faith of their supporters by spending the money that they’ve invested in the club on the best players in the world.
Internazionale have experienced only too well that success does not necessarily buy you a larger fan base. Inter have spent astronomical amounts to ensure their supremacy over Serie A and a recent Champions League title. Yet shirt sale figures suggest profit margins are similar to rivals AC Milan. The table could also be used as evidence to suggest the Italian league is less popular than the English and Spanish.
Players of Italian clubs could be perceived as less glamorous to their European counterparts . Samuel Eto’o, Wesley Sneijder, Milito et al have to compete with the likes of Fernando Torres, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. With the likes of Beckham (obviously back in the MLS now) and Ronaldinho not pulling in the same amount of customers for shirts as a few years ago, this could be a contribution to a waning popularity of Italian shirt sales. This could all be turned around thanks to the recent transfer window which has seen Ibrahimovic return to the San Siro, whilst Robinho also joins. Whilst there isn’t much of a gulf in the abilities of the leagues, the lack of commercial endorsement in foreign countries could account for its demise in popularity.
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