FC Barcelona’s controversial move from stripes to hoops on its shirts has proved profitable, with the kit seeing record sales, according to a leading football shirt retailer.
When the kit was revealed in May of last year it was met with widespread criticism. A poll found that 78% of Barca fans were against the switch from stripes to hoops with many claiming the soul was being ripped from a club which was already seeing its traditions disappearing.
However, success in the Champions League has contributed to a best-selling year for the club according, with sales improving 35% year-on-year. The figures suggest that as long as Barca continues its success on the pitch, shirts will sell.
In fact, over the past five seasons every Champions League winner has seen an uplift in sales following the final, as noted by a spokesperson for retailer UKSoccershop, who said:
“For football fans what matters most is winning games, and if the club is a success on the pitch that becomes an inevitability commercially too. Not only have we seen a rise in home jersey sales following the Champions League success, we also have in the away jersey. And that follows a trend with previous Champions League winners.”
Real Madrid’s ‘La Décima’ saw a rise of 38% in shirt sales for the 2014/15 season, whilst Chelsea’s victory back in 2012 welcomed a 15% increase statistics show.
The thirst for success far outweighs a fan’s desire for a shirt design which follows the clubs long-standing traditions, which had already begun to erode in 2013 when the Spanish team agreed a lucrative shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways.
Further shirt sponsorship been added to in recent years, with Beko now also featuring on the sleeve, but despite this over half of the readers of fan blog Barca Blaugranes cite the 2014/15 season shirt as their favourite home jersey of all time.
It appears regardless of design, shirt sales and favoured jerseys will generally correlate with the success of a team, and last season saw the arrival of Luis Suarez and Luis Enrique to the team as well as a staggering 122 goals in all competitions from the Argentinian and Brazilian stars lionel Messi and Neymar, which powered them to La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League glory.
A vote on whether fans preferred this season’s shirt compared to the leaked 2016/17 shirt recently published online found that whilst fans conclusively preferred being back to stripes, almost a quarter didn’t care as long as the team was winning.