Richard Silvester
Richard Silvester

April 11, 2014

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When the Prime Minister gets involved in a row about the price of an England shirt, you know that something serious has happened.

It was announced last week that the new England shirt for the 2014 World Cup would cost fans £90 to buy. Understandably, most people weren’t very happy about this. Here at infogr8, when we saw this on the news, we asked ourselves a number of questions: firstly, is this a massive difference compared to the prices from other years? And why is it so expensive, given the current financial climate? Finally, is £90 even particularly expensive compared to the prices for other countries’ shirts?

The infographic below answers these questions. The first chart shows the price evolution over the years, spotting that there has been a 68% growth in price since Nike took over from Umbro in 2013.

The second section of the infographic compares this price with the rest of the national teams playing in this year’s World Cup. Surprisingly, £90 is in fact not the most expensive price out there for a shirt – if you want to wear a replica of the Italian jersey you will have to pay a whopping £109.

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How did we come up with the data?

Last week I received an e-mail from infogr8 founder Richard, saying “New England shirt costs £90. Shirt my pants! Can you find data about the change over time?”

Well, it’s not like there is a database out there with the historical prices of football kits, but it shouldn’t be very difficult. In the old days, I would need to find an archive of sports catalogues but, luckily, these days are gone and now we have the Wayback Machine to retrieve snapshots from old websites.

To give consistency to the prices and avoid possible variations between retailers, I took all the information from the official England Store, a shop owned by the Football Association.

The process was simple. I retrieved a snapshot of the store website when each new England shirt was released over the years, and copied all the information on a spreadsheet. However, we can’t just compare the prices like that – that’s basically rubbish journalism. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, Alberto Cairo wrote a blog post about this: you can’t compare prices without adjusting for inflation. So, after gathering all the data, I applied the GDP deflators to the prices. allowing us to could compare the different kits based on the current value of the British Pound Sterling.

Getting the data for all of the other teams playing in the World Cup was quicker. I just visited the online store of FIFA and converted the prices from dollars to pounds. The only problem I had occured when it came to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as their kit is not currently available from this store. So, in this example, I got the data from their national football team’s website.

Our design team created this infographic with some of the data I gathered, but there are still more stories to be told on this topic. If you want, you can have a look into the data and look for a different angle. Don’t forget to tell us what you find!

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