Man united home shirt 2015 16 £60 (1)

Scandal of the English Premier League team kits

by / Comments Off / 105 View / 15th August 2015

As if you haven’t noticed it. The English premier league 2015/16 is upon us. The excitement of the restart of hostilities aside, the side show that is not so much a side show these days is the kits production. From the ghastly coloured combination to the dull, the depressing shades of colours, to the bright and sparkling.
Gone are the days of teams keeping a kit design for a couple of seasons and much more. With the seemingly unstoppable global growth of Premier league football as a brand, every new season is now kick-started by the release of new team kits, home and away strips. All at eye-watering prices too. A marketing man/woman’s paradise, if you like. Some kit launches are so meticulously planned that catwalks are assembled with make-up artists and lightening effects to boot.
How peculiar, football’s global slogan is ‘for the love of the game’. If only that slogan could be revised to for the love of the fans instead. Demand for live match tickets are so high these days, seeing a Premier league match where the chance arises at all, costs an arm and a leg. At some clubs, the wait to be even considered for season’s ticket allocation stretches to nearly 10 years. To think that those fans, fortunate to see live games do not only have to sacrifice a lot – tickets-wise, but also have to put up with the seemingly unstoppable fleecing in the trend of new kits a season sends a shudder to the spine. Where is it all heading?
And the prices are not cheap either. Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City, three of England’s most supported teams, unsurprisingly, have the most expensive kits at an average of £55 that is approximately Le.400, 000. And that is just the shirt with club badges. To add a number(s), personal or player name or even a Premiership logo is charged separately. Understandably, the cheapest kit in the Premier league for this season, costing £45 is that of the modestly supported and newly promoted Watford FC.
If you have football-crazy kids, the yearly kits conveyor is a nightmare. It’s gotten to a point where the insatiable profit trail is exploiting fans’ loyalty for the last penny. If last year’s kit is not only made obsolete by this year’s kit, which in most cases only required the most minimal of improvements in design, fans are made to feel outdated too. The game has been gripped by so much capitalism in recent years, not having the latest line of your team’s shirt is tantamount to betrayal. The trouble is, unless some sanity is injected into the running of clubs, the club shirt could one day be turned into an exclusive commodity for the affluent. And that could be a sad indictment of the game’s powers that be.
Across the world, young men and women adorn their favourite team’s shirt with pride. Not only is that a tangible evidence of the Premiership’s success as a brand, it represents a good advert, and increases participation in the game too. Something that has to remain a core aim if the game is to maintain its dominance as global sport.
Officials talk about spending some of the game’s resources at grassroots level. A necessary first step could be to ensure football’s success as a global sport is given a visible presence on the streets with replica shirts affordability especially for the millions sent to Africa annually as presents. Clubs should make a profit. But it need not be as a result of blackmailing fans to yearly validate their loyalty via the merchandise till when TV rights are at an unimaginably high premium.