Why do football shirts cost so much?

Soccer shirts are among the most purchased (and loved) items in the world. A business that second Athletic with a minimum value of 18 million and 259 thousand euros. They are more and more, with special editions ready to go out at any time of the season, and more and more colorful. But above all, they are becoming more expensive. At the moment with 90 or 100 euros may not be enough if we want to afford the “luxury” of having the name and number printed on the back. A price that has doubled or in some cases tripled over the yearsnot only in Italy, however, as a result of the general increase in the cost of living compared to the past, although unfortunately in Italy, unlike other European countries, wages have not improved. But what are the reasons football shirts cost so much? What is behind the continued increases?

At the origins of an object of worship

A tradition, that of uniforms, which was born together with the status of the oldest club in the world, 1857 Sheffield FC. “All players,” he says, “must wear a red and dark blue flannel cap.” To see the first logo printed on the shirts will have to wait until 1973, when the Germans of Braunschweig came out to the field with the logo of Jägermeisterintroducing a new business.

Since the 1990s, however, football shirts have acquired a new, more cultural meaning. They are worn not only to play or go to the stadium, but also above jeans in everyday life, becoming collectibles or even cult objects over time.

The first sponsor with a t-shirt


Why do football shirts cost so much?

They would be two, though Athleticthe main reasons why the cost has tripled compared to the year of the start of the analysis, 1992. At that time, the current 30 euros were enough, while today we are on the threshold of 90 for a basic model . The first is physiological and is due to inflation, which has risen by 2.8% in recent years. By transforming these 30 euros into 72. Of course, there is still some room left, but in short, it gives the idea.

The other is growing demand. Today, many more people buy football shirts and do so more often, a dynamic that has always led to rising prices. Also because the bond that unites the fans and the club is strong and it doesn’t matter if there are any more sacrifices to be made. After all, you don’t buy fabric, but everything that this equipment contains.

An increase in demand that has led to two affordable versions of the top clubs’ shirts today. They look identical, but they are not. One is the “replica”, the one we call “standard” which for years was the only one available on the market. The other, for the most daring, is the “Authentic” version, with a price that far exceeds 100 euros, to touch in some cases the 150. The difference is that the latter has the same textile technology as those that bring players to the field.

Who pockets that money?

It’s not easy to go “behind the scenes” about how football shirts are born and the relative movements of money, also because sports brands have no interest in disseminating the details. To understand how the different costs and benefits are divided, the most reliable study is that of Peter Rohlmannone of the most important experts in sports marketing, which starts from a starting point: the 8/9 euros that a football kit costs and its transport to the brands.

Rohlmann’s example refers to the Germany shirt for the 2018 World Cup, priced at 90 euros. As mentioned, about 10% goes between production and transportation costs. A much larger portion, 44%, therefore around 40 euros, if retailers, whether physical or online, pocket it. 14%, therefore about 20 euros per shirt, is absorbed by taxes, in addition the German federation takes 6% (5.50 euros) of each piece for the rights. Finally, just over 5% goes to equal parts in marketing, advertising and distribution. A reasoning for which of the 90 euros written on the card, in the end Adidas would pocket € 17 per shirt.

Finally, for those of the clubs it is necessary to consider that the marks must return the expenses realized by contracts of technical sponsorship more and more pharaonic.

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