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5 kits that helped MLS smash their jersey sales record

5 kits that helped MLS smash their jersey sales record

The 2023 Major League Soccer (MLS) season kicked off last week, with Nashville SC defeating New York City in the opening game of the new season.

This marks the 28th season of the American Soccer League system, which was first introduced in 1996.

What started off as sort of something regarded as a ‘gimmick’ in the overall world football scene has now developed into a competitive league with a respectable fan following.

For example, the final of the 2022 MLS Cup – the stages beyond the league stages – saw a combined viewership total of 2.155 million in the USA.

MLS growing in popularity

That was the biggest audience to have watched an MLS Cup final since 1997, which was only the second season in its history.

The viewership of the 2022 final was up 38% from the 2021 edition, with the thrilling game between LA FC and Philadelphia Union seeking a lot of eyes to their product.

It appears that the highly entertaining end to the previous season has raised the popularity levels of the MLS as a whole.

As of last year, Soccer was the fourth most popular sport in the USA and it’s clear that the nation is slowly becoming more perceptive towards the sport just ahead of hosting the World Cup in 2026.

For the general popularity to increase, the quality and fandom levels in the MLS also need to increase – which seems to be happening slowly, but surely.  

MLS sets new merch record

The MLS’ PR team recently made a tweet that announced that the league had set a new record for weekly sales of merchandise in – the official store of the league.

This new record was set during the Jersey Launch Week that took place last month. Fans of respective MLS teams started to quickly buy merchandise of their favourite clubs, ensuring a huge spike in sales on the official website.

It was also added that the record sales for the 2023 Jersey Launch window also saw a 34% increase from the same period in 2022.

With the average jersey price being at least $160, that is actually quite impressive.

Adidas are the universal kit manufacturer for every one of the 29 teams in the MLS, across both the Western Conference as well as Eastern Conference.

Which teams sold the most kits?

The MLS official communications team also posted a picture of the five best-selling MLS kits during the Launch Window, which have popped up some relatively surprising results.

The no.1 team with the most jerseys sold appears to be the Seattle Sounders, who finished 21st in the overall MLS league table last season. A major reason behind that could be because of them dedicating their kit to the iconic movie star and martial artist Bruce Lee – a huge pop culture icon.

However, the Sounders have been relatively successful in recent years and won the Western Conference in 2020 as well as the CONCACAF Champions League last year.

Nashville SC, who got knocked out of the first round of the MLS Cup, sold the second-highest merchandise. They’re going to sport a classic all-black look that is both classy and a beauty to look at.

Charlotte FC, Austin FC and LA FC finish off the top-5 – with the reigning champions barely managing to find a place in the top-5 teams with the most jerseys sold despite having won both the titles as well as having Gareth Bale!

The Charlotte FC away kit, which is a unique ‘Crown Jewel’ purple attire has won over a lot of fans.

Austin FC is sporting a green and black home kit that is very similar to the one worn by Serie A club Sassuolo in the past.

LAFC, the reigning MLS champions, have impressed a lot of fans with their latest new camouflage pattern which was a hit for them in the opening week.

Philadelphia Union, who finished second on both occasions and won the Eastern Conference title, are not even included in this. Neither are David Beckham’s Inter Miami FC – which still seems to be trying to create a solid fanbase in the country.

While some of these results might’ve been surprising, it’s only evident that the general awareness and popularity levels of the MLS is going upwards.

Now it’s up to the club and the involved investors to improve the youth structure and push more top-quality talents to the top for the USMNT to have a fighting chance to go far into the knockout rounds of the 2026 World Cup.