It took me a long time to buy an original brand new soccer jersey! You obviously know the reason why, they are not cheap …
… So, I had the idea, through this article, to discuss that why soccer jerseys are usually expensive.
After a ton of research, I’ve come up with some interesting information that you can check in this Post,
Let’s dive in!
Why are soccer jerseys so expensive?
Whilst it is easy to find cheap soccer jerseys, they are almost invariably of inferior quality, which does not last and can be difficult to wash. Authentic soccer jerseys on the other hand are often accused of being over-priced, a charge that is justified, at least in part.
The first and most compelling argument is that they are priced at the point that the market can bear. Manufacturers know that there is a high demand for shirts among fans, and that when a new strip is announced, there will be a certain section of the fan base that will buy them, irrespective of how much they cost.
Major brands agree multi-year shirt deals with the big clubs that can run into millions of dollars. That money must be recouped somehow and the obvious place to start is with the fans.
It is undoubtedly true that the fabrics used to make soccer jerseys by a leading brand like Puma or Adidas do cost more than cheaper alternatives and may involve more sophisticated manufacturing techniques such as incorporating panels which evaporate sweat, maintaining the body temperature, and keeping the body dry.
The sewing is also more intricate than on replica shirts because it is designed to be flat and not to irritate the skin of the player.
The supply chain then needs to be factored into consideration – the process of transporting shirts from the manufacturer into club shops or retail outlets. Although hidden, this adds extra expense to the final retail cost.
The branding must also be considered. Clubs receive a percentage of the price paid for each shirt for the right to use their name, logo, and club colors.
Then there is VAT or local equivalents like sales tax. This is something that retailers are obliged to add by law and collect on behalf of the government.
What are they made from?
Historically soccer jerseys were made from materials like cotton or wool, which meant that they tended to absorb heat and were hot to wear, whilst, at the same time, they soaked-up and absorbed sweat, making them not only uncomfortable, but heavy as well.
However, technological advances, principally the advent of synthetic fibres, have seen a revolution in their manufacture.
Typically, these days soccer jerseys are made nearly 100% from polyester fabrics, which offer the dual benefits of being both lightweight and durable at the same time.
Polyester is a naturally breathable fibre, meaning it is ideal for keeping players cool. At the same time, polyester does not hold water like natural fabrics, so sweat is not absorbed into it.
Another advantage that polyester offers is that it can be manufactured in a more consistent way than other fabrics, which helps make it more affordable. And it is engineered to be soft, adding to its overall comfort.
Some manufacturers will weave Spandex or Lycra into the material. These materials are not as breathable as polyester but are used because they help make shirts stretchy, which some users prefer given how physical soccer can be, with jersey tugging and pulling.
Another type of material found in modern football shirts is polyurethane, the same type of polymers which are also used in the manufacture of soccer balls.
In soccer jerseys they are often the material used for the letters, numbers, and sponsors names, and are thermally bonded onto jerseys using a heat-sealer. They have the advantage of being water resistant.
Does the price depend on the soccer club?
The price of a soccer jersey does depend on the club, following the basic laws of supply and demand.
The biggest selling jerseys in the world belong to the top European clubs with Real Madrid leading the way followed by Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea.
Also featuring consistently in the top ten worldwide in terms of sales are Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus, and the two Milan clubs, AC and Inter.
Manufacturers and suppliers know they can charge more for the shirts of these clubs because they have the largest global fan bases.
Smaller clubs in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world do not have the same volume of support, and therefore, retailers know they cannot charge as much as jerseys for one of the “major” clubs.
It should also be noted that fans in many third world countries just do not have the same purchasing power in general as their European or North American neighbours.
Many cannot afford to pay for the authentic version anyway and are more likely to be tempted by cheaper and inferior copies.
Are replicas as good? What is the difference?
Replica shirts are usually not as good as authentic soccer jerseys, but they may be a lot more affordable for the average fan.
Authentic jerseys are designed for professional soccer players on field, whilst replica shirts are made specifically for supporters, although they should be distinguished from the cheap knockoffs sometimes sold on stalls outside grounds or by street hawkers.
There are several main differences between authentic and replica jerseys.
Authentic jerseys are designed to be both breathable and stretchable because of the demands placed on players and their bodies during games. Replica jerseys are still lightweight and offer ventilation, but not to the same extent, and they tend to stretch less.
Authentic jerseys are designed to be a close fit to players’ bodies so as to give opponents less material to hang on to and grab.
Replica jerseys have extra room in the shoulders and mid-section to allow them to be worn by people with a variety of body shapes.
Most fans are not the highly honed athletes that professional soccer players need to be these days!
The application of design features – crests, logos, numbers, sponsors’ branding – is different. With authentic jerseys, these are heat transferred onto the fabric, whereas they are woven on replica shorts.
Are authentic soccer jerseys worth it?
Authentic jerseys are designed for professional soccer players and, for most of them, it is not a question of affordability. Indeed, many of them are given their jerseys by the clubs, so they probably never think about how much they actually cost.
However, the replica shirts that so many fans like to wear can be official club merchandise or cheaper copies, many of which have been produced without official sanction.
They tend to be priced at the point the market will bear, meaning they are not cheap. However, many copies are obviously of poorer overall quality, do not bear repeat washing, tear easily, and the colors and dyes used are of inferior quality.
So, for those who want to fit in with other fans, then buying the real thing is the only way to go.
Is this the same for other gear?
There is the same price difference between authentic and fake soccer gear when it comes to items like socks and shin guards, but as these tend to be relatively low-cost items anyway, it is not so noticeable.
The other piece of equipment where the cost is comparable to jerseys is cleats. There it may not be worth buying a pair of cleats branded by a famous player, but it is always worth investing in a pair that are made of the best materials.
Not only will they be more comfortable, but they will last much longer in the long run.
Is this the same for other sports?
The same argument that soccer fans make about soccer jerseys is echoed in the views of supporters of other sports – NFL, NBA, Ice Hockey, and Rugby Union to name but a few – all of whom complain about the price of authentic jerseys.
The average authentic NHL or NFL jersey will retail close to US $200 and, even in a discount store or during a sale, somebody can expect to play close to half of that.
And, in the UK club rugby jerseys tend to be roughly equivalent in price to a soccer jersey, with again a premium placed on special shirts, such as those worn by the New Zealand All-Blacks.
However, nobody is forcing fans or supporters to buy soccer jerseys, authentic or replica. If everybody stopped wanting them, then the price would come down because, despite manufacturers talking about the high quality involved in producing them, they also make a considerable profit margin on each shirt they sell.
Until that happens, they will remain at inflated prices because manufacturers and the clubs know they have a captive market.
And it is the reason why clubs produce two or three new kits every year. They know that there is an element of the fan base that is prepared to fork out every year, despite how much they may complain about the cost.
To answer the original question, the reasons why soccer jerseys are so expensive is that is what people are willing to pay.
Final Thoughts …
I really hope this article has answered most of your questions about soccer jerseys, their types and their prices!
Generally, if you are a fan of a soccer team and would love to support it, then I don’t see much harm investing in an authentic jerseys which will look good, fit good and last for a very a long time!