As previously reported, new Juventus signing Cristiano Ronaldo has already captured the hearts and minds of the Bianconeri faithful, with the club rumored to have shifted some 520,000 jerseys bearing the Portuguese attacker’s name in just 24 hours.
To put those figures into context, when Paris Saint-Germain paid a world record fee, said to be around $263 million, for Neymar last summer, the French club was reported to have sold 10,000 of the Brazilian’s jerseys within the first 24 hours and 120,000 within the first month.
As the graphic below illustrates, if Juventus continues to move Ronaldo jerseys at such a brisk rate, not only will it have blitzed PSG’s initial Neymar figures, it will also easily surpass the total number of shirts it sold in all of the 2016-17 season.
That said, there are additional factors at play here.
Despite heavy investment from its wealthy Qatar ownership in recent years, 48-year-old PSG is incomparable to the Old Lady of Turin when it comes to history, fanbase, and global appeal. Juve is the most successful club in Italy, having won 34 Serie A titles and two European Cups/Champions Leagues. In France, PSG trails Marseille, Saint-Étienne, Monaco, and Nantes with seven Ligue 1 titles and is still seeking its first Champions League crown. Juve is also Italy’s best-supported club, with a fanbase of more than eight million, whereas many French fans would suggest PSG doesn’t generate the same fervor as its eternal south coast rival Marseille.
Regardless, Ronaldo’s transfer isn’t the payday bonanza for Juve some would have you believe.
Various outlets are claiming the posted shirt sales will pay off a good chunk of Ronaldo’s estimated $140 million transfer fee, as basic math dictates that 520,000 x $120 (the retail fee for a Juve jersey) = $62.4 million.
Unsurprisingly, football sponsorship deals are a bit more complicated than that. In reality, Juventus stands to make a lot less. As per the Independent, most clubs receive a standalone fee from their kit manufacturer (adidas, in this case), which then takes 85-90 percent of the revenue from jersey sales. If those figures are correct, 520,000 shirts sold would see Juve bank somewhere in the region of $6 million to $9 million. So perhaps the real winner here is adidas, and not for the first time given the Three Stripes also manufactures the kit of Ronaldo’s former club Real Madrid.
Jake Cohen of The Set Pieces expands further, citing when Zlatan Ibrahimović signed for Manchester United. He estimates that had United sold 300,000 Ibra jerseys, the club would have stood to earn somewhere in the region of £3 million (approximately $3.9 million). “Put simply, there’s a reason why adidas has earned more in the last six months than Manchester United, one of the highest-earning football clubs in the world, has earned in its 138-year existence,” he concludes.
Regardless, there are some things you can’t put a price on, and if Ronaldo helps Juventus to its elusive third Champions League title, the balance sheet will be the last thing on the mind of club owner Andrea Agnelli.
Now check out what went down at Ronaldo’s Juventus unveiling.