This season, Premier League clubs have had a massive boost following the £5.14bn TV rights deal.


However, kit manufacturer and club sponsorship deals continue to be a vital revenue stream for all clubs. Different kits each season (normally three) offer fans extra excitement and really push the boundaries of fan’s commitment to their club.


Like broadcasting and match-day revenue, commercial revenue is a major factor in determining the yearly income for football clubs. Clubs generate commercial revenue from merchandising, kit sponsorship deals and kit suppliers/manufacturers deal.


The shirt suppliers deal is worth a huge fee because of the never-ending marketing opportunity in every game the club plays, as well as the street-level marketing that happens when fans buy and wear their favourite team’s shirt.


Kit sponsorship deals happen when a club signs with a manufacturer or company that is willing to pay the club a certain amount to place their logo or name on the club’s official and training kits in all or certain competitions.


Then there is the kit suppliers/manufacturers deal, which a club strikes with sports clothing manufacturers such as Adidas, Nike, Puma, Umbro, etc., for them to supply and sell their official kits worldwide.


For the world’s biggest or the most successful football clubs, the right to put a sports manufacturer’s logo on their kit comes with a big financial price-tag. Manchester United’s recent deal with Adidas is the perfect example, with the clothing company paying a whopping £750m to supply the club with their kit for the next 10 years.


It’s not always about on pitch success either as Chelsea sold more shirts around the world than Manchester United during the 2015-16 season. United remain England’s richest club, but the Blues (despite their hugely disappointing campaign last season) lead the shirt sales figures among English clubs and they are behind only Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the top of the global table.


United are fourth, ahead of Real Madrid, with Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid – into the top 10 for the first time – Juventus and AC Milan following, according to marketing firm Euramericas.


Barcelona sold 3,637,000 shirts around the world last season, over 400,000 more than German giants Bayern. Chelsea sold 3,102,000, ahead of United with 2,977,000. Arsenal sold just over two million.


Bringing out a new kit each season also allows clubs to capitalise on, and expand their fan-base in other regions.


Signing players from other parts of the world gives fans a more easily visible connection between them and the club. A striking example of this is Manchester United’s signing of Park Ji-Sung, arguably Asia’s most successful and high-profile footballer on the European stage.


Park’s signing allowed United to massively expand their fan-base in Korea and further increase their already massive revenue streams.


When United signed Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund in 2012, it was claimed that one of the reasons for doing so was commercial. Kagawa’s signature would help United both on and off the pitch, as shirt sales in Japan would skyrocket. 


Big players mean shirt sales. It’s often said that Cristiano Ronaldo has paid back his £80 million transfer fee to Real Madrid just in the value of shirt sales, his amazing contributions on the pitch notwithstanding.


It makes sense that Adidas have invested so much money in their deal with Real Madrid. Carsten Thode, chief strategy officer at sports marketing agency Synergy and former Manchester United strategist, Adidas, explains:  “Clearly, Real Madrid is a very special club in terms of its global popularity and the amount of kit it sells” he adds. “You don’t have to do the maths to see that that makes a lot of money.”


Design wise, looking at the multitude of different kits it’s a real test of fan loyalty and how far clubs can push the boundaries of merchandise.


Neon, pinks, purples all aim to stand out and there is no shortage of combinations and variations too.


Have the manufacturers stuck with tradition? Do the shirts have a retro feel or have they opted for a complete overhaul? Creatively, looking at some of the shirts on show it’s a real spectrum to cater for every taste.


If your company is looking at how you want to explore your commercial marketing opportunities, do not hesitate to call HatTrick on 0870 609 3216 or alternatively you can e-mail us at hello@hattrickmarketing.com