New signings, Tobin Heath and Christen Press, outsold every Manchester United men’s player in the first three days of their club shirts being released.
Following the double acquisition of US Women internationals Tobin Heath and Christen Press, there was significant demand for shirts that within the first three days of release the pair outsold every mens first team player, including key players; Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial.
The World Cup winning duo Heath and Press joined United in September on one-year deals, from Portland Thorns and Utah Royals respectively. They join the Women’s Super League for the 2020/21 season, along with fellow international teammates Alex Morgan, (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Samantha Mewis (Manchester City FC) and Rose Lavelle (Manchester City FC).
Heath and Press both made their competitive debuts against Brighton & Hove Albion, making their appearance in the second half to help secure a three-nil victory, with Heath registering her first assist of the campaign.
However, long before their anticipated debut it was their shirt sales that did the talking, as record jersey sales with the pairs names highlighted just how much of an impact high profile players can have on merchandise sales.
Club merchandise has always been a significant revenue stream for football clubs with Manchester United being at the forefront of shirt sales. It was reported that on average the club sold 1.75 million shirts between the 2011-12 season to 2015-16, outselling second place Real Madrid by 100,000 shirts.
In terms of revenue, Manchester United has seen a sharp increase in the percentage in which Commercial (Retail, Merchandising, Apparel & product Licensing) contributes to their overall income. In 2009, commercial revenues accounted for only 24% (£66 million) of their £279 million total revenue income. Where as ten years later in 2019 it increased to 44%, becoming their biggest revenue stream, making up £275 million of their total revenue for that year which totalled £627 million.
Especially in the current COVID impacted climate, an extra boost to revenues will help WSL clubs survive these harshest of times and will give further food for thought to club executives across the country to sign players not only to improve their playing squad but to also help to bolster their finances and stature.
Author: William Hebb