You must have seen it. Last Monday, AC Milan wore, for the first time, its fourth jersey launched a few days earlier. And the least we can say is that it has the merit of being… original? Yes, “original”. Just like its rendering on television. During the match against Bologna, we were able to contemplate this funny tunic, with the traditional red and black stripes of the Lombard club caught between two huge white spots: one from the collar, the other from the bottom of the shirt. The result of a bad wash or a painting accident? Not really. It is rather the result of a collaboration between Puma, official partner of the Milanese club as well as its technical supplier, and Nemen, a streetwear brand.
“Renowned for contemporary silhouettes crafted with exceptional Italian craftsmanship, Nemen brings a fashionable edge to football in a modern, match-ready collaboration with AC Milan (…) This sophisticated football shirt attracts looks“, welcomes the German company on its site. For the last part, it’s won. Whether we like it or not, the Rossoneri’s fourth jersey (or what’s left of it once worn) caused a stir, especially on social networks.
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More often than not, he was mocked, criticized and mocked. He did not even bring luck (1-1 against Bologna). “But believe me, we’ve been breaking sales records since its launch.“, we are told on the side of Casa Milan, the headquarters of the club. A new victory for marketing, which has settled in the panorama of modern football. Even if it means moving away from the colors and traditions of a club.
The twelve Napoli jerseys
If Milan did not hesitate to (re) launch more “retro” collections from the 90s, Napoli broke records this year. In total, the Parthenopean club has released no less than twelve jerseys this season! Twelve, you read that right. In detail: three basic, four in homage to Maradona, one with flames, one for Halloween and three for European competitions.
But is it allowed? In Italy, however, the regulations impose a maximum of four tunics per season for three colors, with a “clearly dominant” if a team chooses to wear more. By the way: green will be banned next season since it interferes with billboards. But back to our twelve Neapolitan jerseys, possible thanks to “the special collaboration with designer Giorgio Armani” and “self-production without constraints linked to an equipment supplier“, tells us the Italian Football League.
“It’s a real successexplains Vincenzo Credendino, journalist on the Neapolitan channel CN24 TV. Napoli sold more shirts than usual, which is necessarily from an economic point of view. On the other hand, on the side of the collectors, the opinions are divided. There are those who are happy and those who find it difficult to keep up with this pace. There are really a lot of them, which can lower the value of some. For me, it does not detract from the identity of the club. This is another thing. The Napoli blue is very famous in Italy. Maybe abroad, yes, we should first bet on this color before releasing others, especially in very distant markets.”
As PSG have done this season, some Italian clubs no longer hesitate to play with their third jersey even during home matches. Three days before a meeting, the host club must complete an online form, indicating its choice of outfit (among those validated at the start of the season by the League) so that it can then be validated by the Association of Referees (AIA ). The latter then checks whether certain colors could cause a problem for the refereeing corps.
Sponsors, a major issue
In a championship that has lost more than a billion euros with the Covid-19 pandemic, the flourishing jersey business has become central for an Italian club. By the way, Adidas has just recovered that of the Nazionale for an amount of 35-40 million euros per year. But that was of course before she failed in her quest for the World Cup…
According to a recent survey by StageUp, shirt sponsors bring in around €335 million to the twenty Serie A clubs (230 commercial partners, 105 technical sponsors). Regarding the main ones, which are at the front, we are talking about 173 million euros, of which 46% only for three behemoths: Juve, Inter and Milan.
In total, the Italian League allows four sponsors, which must occupy a maximum space of 650cm². The one at the back (under the numbers) is in vogue. Wefox, a German company that offers online insurance products, recently acquired that of AC Milan for 8 million euros per season. Juve can boast of wearing the most “bankable” jersey in the Boot: Adidas pays them 51 million, then Jeep (45 million), Bitget (8-10 million) and Cygames (6-10 million). Enough to cross the 100 million barrier. Bingo. So too bad if some teams, sponsored by Puma, have seen their crest removed from their third jersey to the detriment of the name of the city, such as Marseille, Dortmund or Milan. Which can sometimes lead to comical scenes for a striker, who is desperately looking for a logo to embrace.
An average price of almost 90 euros
On the side of the tifosi, always very attached to displaying the colors of their club, the wallet cries. According to information from La Repubblica, the average price of a Serie A jersey is around 89.5 euros. The prize goes to Juve with its home jersey at 140 euros (162 with personalization) and 90 euros for its replica. Napoli are not joking either with their special Maradona jersey sold for 150 euros. Far from Genoa and its tunic at 60 euros. “On the revenue from its sales, an Italian club collects between 3 and 4%“, specified the generalist daily.
However, the football shirt business does not stop there. Collectors are always on the lookout for the rare pearl, worn or signed if possible. A few days ago, the one Diego Armanda Maradona wore when he crucified England at the 1986 FIFA World Cup was auctioned between 4 and 6 million pounds (between 5.2 and 7.8 millions of dollars). Problem, Dalma, his daughter, questioned his authenticity on Wednesday. According to her, the jersey owned by former English midfielder Steve Hodge and offered for sale by Sotheby’s would actually be that of the first half of this quarter-final.
But the Argentine genius, who died of a heart attack in Buenos Aires on November 25, 2020 at the age of 60, changed his outfit at half-time and wore another shirt when he scored his two legendary goals. , one with the help of the hand – “the hand of God”, had said Maradona -, the other, “the goal of the century”, scored four minutes later after an incredible ride between the English defenders. According to Dalma Maradona, it was her father himself who confided the secret to her: “How am I going to give him the jersey of my life?“, he would have said to him.
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