Unlike popular beliefs, teams do not sell millions of football jerseys each year, at least no when it comes to official merchandise. The top 3 clubs in the world when it comes to official replica shirts sales, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona, combine for just under 4 million in a season.
This doesn’t mean that these clubs don’t make tons of money off the jersey sales. Real Madrid lead all European clubs by making an average of €38 million per year from Adidas on their kit sponsorship, which gives some sort of indication as to how much they make of jersey sales. Real Madrid, the leading Adidas club, sell 1.4 million jerseys on average over the past five seasons, obviously receiving a substantial boost in 2010 upon the return of the Galacticos era.
Manchester United are the leading Nike side, with 1.4 million as well. They receive £25.4 million a season, which is €31.5 million from their kit supplier. Barcelona are ahead of them in terms of sponsorship money for the jerseys, making €33 million a season. Liverpool, despite being a huge disappointment for quite a few seasons, remain one of the more lucrative clubs in the world to be associated with, receiving £25 million annually from Warrior.
An interesting boost was seen in the sales of Bayern Munich and Chelsea, although it can be explained pretty easily, as Bayern made the Champions League final twice over the past couple of seasons, including one in their home ground against Chelsea, obviously increasing the sales numbers. For Chelsea, it goes without saying, the Champions League triumph didn’t hurt one bit.
In 2011-2012 alone, both Real Madrid and Manchester Untied sold over 1.5 million jerseys, while Barcelona and Bayern Munich topped one million. Dortmund, Marseille, Manchester City and PSG didn’t make the top 10 of the five year average, but all sold over 250,000 units.
When it comes to complete kits, United still lead the way, along with Liverpool, who apparently sell very well when it comes to full body dressing, for some reason. The name still holds enough prestige and power among football fans, or maybe it’s just the color and the logo.