Soccer Clubs MUST Lower Supporter Jersey Prices

2015-10-09 18:23

As an ardent Kaizer Chiefs supporter, I wanted to look proud and #ForeverFearless in the new, sleek supporter jerseys. However, the prices scared me off. With both away and home jerseys priced at R799, I asked the teller to use some old-school Vaseline petroleum jelly while screwing me.

Fact is, soccer clubs have made a habit of bending us backwards. It makes it so challenging to wear your favourite team's badge on your chest. It's worth noting that this time last year, a KC jersey was retailing for R659 at a reputable store in Bloemfontein. I fail to understand the astronomical price hike. Wouldn't more people buy jerseys if they were, say, R599? The benefit of that would entail more money for the club in question (since more people would buy authentic jerseys) and better brand placement. Perhaps our beloved clubs are suffering from a bout of incurable complacency.

What usually happens with such prices is that more jerseys remain on the shelves, only to be sold at half the price come the end of the season. Alternatively, fans could walk to the corner of Church Street to get kitted up for R150. Who's really losing out? To lessen the blow, we are massaged with a saving of R100 if we buy both the home and away jerseys.

Suffice to say, SA’s clubs have forgotten that a majority of their supporter base falls under the working class. Here’s a breakdown of other clubs’ prices, according to their websites and official Facebook pages:

Mamelodi Sundowns: R799 (Nike)

Orlando Pirates: R699 (Adidas)

Ajax Cape Town: R599 (Adidas)

Bloemfontein Celtic: R399 (Kappa)

Of the 5 clubs listed above and Chiefs, only Ajax and Celtic seem to care about their fans. “But Celtic kits are made by Kappa.” Yes, maybe it’s a call for all clubs to move away from these exploitative superbrands.

Now let’s take a look at how things look on the rugby side:

Blue Bulls: R799 (Puma)

Golden Lions: R699 (Canterbury; for some reason the 2014 Currie Cup jersey is R799)

Western Province and Stormers: R699 and R649, respectively (Adidas)

The Sharks: R599 (MicroMega)

Free State Cheetahs: R580 (Puma)

Clearly, the exploitation is not limited to soccer. However, unlike soccer in this beautiful land, rugby’s majority fanbase is not necessarily part of the working class.

When the new away strip was launched late July, I raised my concerns regarding the price on Chiefs’ official Facebook page. Fellow fans who are used to this modern-day exploitation were quick to tell me to “take it or leave it.” One went as far as saying, “you must understand that both teams & shops are in business.” A classic case of conditioning, perhaps.

I recently logged onto the *Official Manchester United site for South African fans to check out the prices on the latest jerseys. A long-sleeved United jersey is going for R600. Yes, R200 less than KC’s short-sleeved one. Add R100 and you get your favourite player's name AND either a Premier League badge or a UEFA Champions League one.

In Stuart Baxter’s final season, Kaizer Chiefs managed to complete a PSL and MTN8 double. With combined prize money of R18m, surely the fans should be repaid for their unwavering support.

Unreasonable stadium ticket prices and the not-so-cheap alternative of pay-TV are already putting a strain on the PSL’s supporter base. The least clubs can do is lower the prices of their merchandise.

Am I being unreasonable? Tweet me @Uncle_Uhuru.

*http://store.manutd.co.za/

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