In the first 12 hours after they were launched, sales of Cristiano Ronaldo’s renowned Manchester United No. 7 shirt shattered the Premier League record.
Even a tidal surge of fan demand for his now-iconic shirt won’t be enough to recoup the club’s £12.85 million investment in the Portuguese legend.
According to LovetheSales.com, supporters spent £32.5 million on Ronaldo’s new outfit in the first 12 hours after it was unveiled, a Premier League record for the first 12 hours after a player’s official shirt number was disclosed. Over 1,000 UK internet retailers are tracked by LovetheSales.com.
With United kits adorned with the superstar’s number costing somewhere between 80 and 110 pounds, it means between 295,500 and 406,250 shirts were sold during that time. He already has the best-selling jersey of any Premier League player, surpassing Manchester City’s new addition Jack Grealish.
United and official kit maker Adidas have failed to keep up with demand, with all jerseys not expected to ship until October 1st, according to the official club website. Other UK businesses have reported major shortages, with many selling out of the jersey both online and in-store.
However, while fans have spent £32.5 million in just 12 hours, the club will only receive a fraction of that amount, shattering the idea that shirt sales alone would be enough to cover his massive transfer to United.
Manchester United inked a £750 million ten-year kit deal with Adidas in 2014, making it the most expensive kit deal in football history.
While the specifics of that contract are kept under wraps, it’s unlikely that United receives even a tenth of the cash from shirt sales.
The typical contract between manufacturers and big clubs is that after a certain number of shirts are sold – say a million – the clubs will only receive a maximum of 10% of income.
However, one analyst recently calculated that United’s part of the money would be substantially lower.
Dr. Dan Plumley, a senior expert in sport finance at Sheffield Hallam University, told the BBC, “The fee has already been agreed between the manufacturer and the club.” “As a result, the majority of shirt sales go to the maker.”
While he stated that “it’s highly doubtful that that (club cut) will ever be beyond 10%,” Dr. Plumley argues that United would only be paid a maximum of £5 per shirt.
Given that shirts with Ronaldo’s name and number cost between 80 and 110 pounds each, United’s anticipated profit margin is at best 6.25 percent and at worst roughly 4.5 percent of the sale price.
If the 32.5 million pounds in earnings from Ronaldo jersey sales came from a middle-ground average price of 90 pounds per shirt, about 360,000 shirts were sold in the first 12 hours.
If each of those sales brought in 5 pounds, United would have 1.8 million pounds in their bank account.
Those claims that United will recoup the £12.85 million premium they paid Juventus for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner are wildly exaggerated.
Fortunately for United, jersey sales account just a small portion of the club’s revenue, which totaled £509 million last year. The true financial benefit of bringing Ronaldo home is in the increased brand value and subsequent sponsorship deals.
However, winning the Premier League will be considerably more important to the club than the money.
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