Creative takes on traditional kit designs have not always been welcomed warmly by football fans over the past few years. In most cases, it has not merely been a case of supporters being sticklers for tradition rather clubs and designers have predominantly failed to offer attractive re-creations of classic football shirts.
When Nike experimented with Barcelona’s infamous Blaugrana strip back in 2020 for their home kit and replaced the vertical stripes with a check pattern, it led to a ‘Croatian Checkboard’ kit which was vehemently criticized by Cules.
Similarly, Puma’s adventurous fourth kit design for AC Milan (2021-22) featured a faded reprint of last season’s home kit alongside a white faded print used for the top and bottom that resulted in a shoddy end product.
Both these kits were voted as one of the worst kits ever by the respective fanbases. A sole exception from the past few seasons where a creative re-design was appreciated would be Juventus’s home kit for the upcoming season which replaced their vertical black and white stripes with stripes made of small triangles.
Perhaps in an attempt to emulate Bianconeri’s success, Atletico Madrid also replaced their traditional red and white vertical stripes with curved stripes for their 2022-23 home kit.
However, this bold move to ditch the vertical stripes for the first time since the 2006-07 campaign backfired completely as fans of the club voiced their disapproval of the design right when leaked images emerged.
Apart from the poor craftsmanship, Atleti fans were also disappointed as the new design was meant to symbolize the Manzanares river, on the banks of which was situated the club’s old stadium. Using such an amateur design to represent such an integral facet in the heritage of the club only made matters worse.
Due to the utter failure of the Nike home kit, it appears Atletico’s shirt sales have dropped by almost 40% in comparison to last season’s revenues.
As per reports, club sources have confirmed the heavy drop in revenue and moreover, it seems like officials in Madrid were also expecting such a drastic fall after the initial fan reaction to the home kit emerged.
However, the commercial crisis for Atletico runs deeper than just the home kit as it appears sale rates have dropped even for other clothing accessories apart from the home shirt.
The primary reason behind this boycott could be due to the club re-designing the Atleti badge. The main shield which features the bear and the tree which are traditional symbols were represented using a much more modern overall design.
The badge change was announced in 2018 as a part of a major overhaul of the club’s identity which extended to the kit and the stadium as well.
But this attempted renaissance of the Madrid club seems to have cost Atletico dearly on the commercial front. The latest drop in shirt sales would have hit the club hard and supporters would be hoping that those in Madrid learn from their mistakes at the earliest.