The world of English soccer was abuzz this morning as the price was revealed for the new authentic England World Cup jersey: 90 pounds.
That’s approximately $150, or what the authentic US World Cup shirt is going for at US Soccer’s official team store (Add in another $25 if you’d like a name and number on the back of your US kit).
Fair play before we get to the hubbub: the shirts are sharp.
Anyway, the “cheaper” versions of the England shirt (also known as the versions most people have been buying for ages) go for about $100, with kids versions moving for $70. Those prices are more or less standard.
It’s all paper route money, kids, so start delivering. From a BBC report:
Shadow Sports Minister Clive Efford said the pricing strategy was “disappointing” while Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton called it “appalling” and “taking the mickey”.
Efford said: “I’m disappointed that fans are being asked to pay up to £90 for a new England shirt.
“The game of football seems to be increasingly about profit and commercialism rather than the community and the fans, who have sustained football for many generations.”
My biggest question is, “How is this surprising anyone, and who thinks that sport isn’t mostly about money?” My goodness. The price is absurd, but no more absurd than Wayne Rooney getting Scrooge McDuck money for clobbering a ball and those chasing it.
As an aside: I have no proof that “Shadow Sports Minister” does not refer to someone who rules on athletics involving actual demons, so I’m going to run with that.
Look, it’s a lot of money for a shirt but it’s a select item. Without getting too political, given the profit margins and some of the tactics employed to create the apparel, it’s even nuttier. Those up-in-arms are within their rights to be incensed about it, but acting surprised feels a little farcical.
The report goes on to point out that parents are furious because Nike just took over the England jersey business from Umbro less than a year ago, when they rolled out another expensive jersey.
“The frequency with which these kits are changed adds to the expense. When it comes to buying for more than one child it gets extremely expensive and people on moderate or low incomes are excluded from that privilege.”
Here’s my thought, then: If the price is too high, don’t buy the new kit. You either teach your kids how ridiculous the whole ordeal is, or you cave in and accept your fate. The price isn’t coming down, right? If your kid is flipping out because you got him the “inferior” version, I feel like you’ve got bigger problems.
I’m fortunate to have been raised my parents who were able to get me a Buffalo Sabres or US Soccer jersey from time-to-time, and I thought they were great for it. As the oldest of four kids in a not-super-wealthy household, I was incredibly grateful.
But the the fact that I didn’t get every single edition, or even one of every five changes, didn’t make me think differently of them. I loved them cause they loved me.
My best advice? Laugh and move forward.