Manchester United and Real Madrid have sold an average of 1.4m official replica shirts globally each year in the past five years, more than any other clubs in the world. The commercial giants of English and Spanish football wear kits made respectively by Nike and Adidas and those sales numbers are from the 2007-08 season to the 2011-12 season inclusive.
The figures have been compiled by veteran analyst Dr Peter Rohlmann and his team at the consulting bureau, PR Marketing, who have worked as consultants to major brands, leagues and other organisations (pr-marketing.de), and were published in full by sportingintelligence.com for the first time yesterday. As the graphic below shows, Barcelona are No3 on the sales list (Nike, average 1.15m sales a year) followed by Chelsea in fourth place (Adidas, 910,000).
The top 10 also includes Bayern Munich (Adidas), Liverpool (Adidas during the research period, now Warrior), Arsenal (Nike), Juventus (Nike), Inter Milan (Nike) and Milan (Adidas). Chelsea are the most significant ‘climbers’ since detailed market statistics were last published by that website two years ago. They were Adidas’s joint-second best sellers with Liverpool and Bayern Munich two years ago but have moved clear into second place for Adidas and fourth overall now.
There is a misconception in some quarters that big clubs sell tens of millions of shirts a year but this is simply untrue. As the graphic shows, only three clubs sell more than 1m shirts a year each consistently. The figures do not include counterfeit merchandise. Taking the five-year view of sales is considered a more reliable indicator of sustainable popularity than one-season snapshots, which hold the likelihood of peaks and troughs caused by individual trophy wins, player transfers or the release of new kits. For the 2011-12 season alone, Real Madrid and United both sold more than 1.5m shirts in the year.
So it is normal that Real Madrid earn most from kit deals. In fact Real Madrid’s deal with Adidas, which lasts until 2020, is worth a guaranteed 38 million euros per year (or £31m, or $49m) while Barcelona’s deal with Nike is worth 33 million euros per year. Real Madrid are in front of the top ranking thanks to the renewed deal with Adidas. Not far behind one can find Barcelona and the leading merchandising sellers of the UK, Manchester United and Liverpool.