Beckham, Henry boast top-selling MLS jerseys

BeckhamHenry (Getty Images)

It pays to be a Designated Player in MLS, and, as it turns out, the league is seeing a return on its DP investments from a merchandising standpoint as well.

Seven of the top 10 selling MLS jerseys belong to Designated Players, with David Beckham and Thierry Henry leading the way, respectively, according to figures released on Tuesday. Los Angeles Galaxy captain Landon Donovan ranks behind them, followed by Seattle's Fredy Montero, D.C. United's Dwayne De Rosario and San Jose's Chris Wondolowski. De Rosario is not technically a DP even though his salary, which is paid down with allocation money, crosses the DP threshold, while Wondolowski's salary nears DP status as well but is not quite there. 

Despite just joining the league not even two months ago, New York Red Bulls DP Tim Cahill has the seventh-highest selling jersey in MLS. He is followed by the Galaxy's Robbie Keane and Sounders captain Mauro Rosales. Houston Dynamo veteran Brian Ching rounds out the top 10.

As for some of the more surprising names among the top 25 best-selling jerseys — of which only nine belong to Americans — the Philadelphia Union's Roger Torres ranks 19th; Galaxy veteran Mike Magee has the 23rd best-selling uniform and the New England have found marketing success with Saer Sene, who ranks 24th.  

Here are the Top 25-selling MLS jerseys:

TOP 25-SELLING MLS JERSEYS

  1. David Beckham, LAG
  2. Thierry Henry, RBNY
  3. Landon Donovan, LAG
  4. Fredy Montero, SEA
  5. Dwayne De Rosario, DCU
  6. Chris Wondolowski, SJ
  7. Tim Cahill, RBNY
  8. Robbie Keane, LAG
  9. Mauro Rosales, SEA
  10. Brian Ching, HOU
  11. Darlington Nagbe, POR
  12. Chris Pontius, DCU
  13. Osvaldo Alonso, SEA
  14. Young-Pyo Lee, VAN
  15. Kris Boyd, POR
  16. Barry Robson, VAN
  17. Eddie Gaven, CLB
  18. Brad Davis, HOU
  19. Roger Torres, PHI
  20. Freddy Adu, PHI
  21. Kei Kamara, SKC
  22. Kyle Beckerman, RSL
  23. Mike Magee, LAG
  24. Saer Sene, NE
  25. Arne Friedrich, CHI

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What do you think of this list? Surprised at some of the names that are so high up or ones that aren't even on the Top 25 list at all? Whose jersey did you think would sell better? Disappointed or surprised by the lack of American players on the list?

Share your thoughts below.

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47 Responses to Beckham, Henry boast top-selling MLS jerseys

  1. EllisCarver says:

    Very telling that Torres jersey sell more than Adu. Adu’s as good as gone in Philly after this season.

  2. Peter says:

    No Kenny Cooper?

  3. mephime says:

    How many of these end up at Ross?

  4. Dynamo Fan says:

    No one buys Marquez jerseys what a surprise

  5. C. Alejos says:

    Any way of putting these numbers in relation to other major sports in the US? Or other soccer teams worldwide? I remember once seeing David Beckham’s jersey selling more than some NFL teams. Any stats on that?

  6. Raymon says:

    Would’ve thought Brek Shea in top 25

  7. anon says:

    no Brek Shea, Eddie Johnson, Feilhaber or Bunbury? Interesting. Wonder if Nesta will join this list next year.

  8. The Imperative Voice says:

    From a fiscal cost-benefit standpoint, the most expensive players had better be the best selling jerseys also.

    Beckham’s jersey might have initially sold very well but I think we’re talking realistic numbers now, if league-leading. He’s no longer filling stadiums just by visiting, truly bringing in non-fans and fans alike, and by the time he made it to and won the cup, it was the first final dumped to cable (because of Desperate Housewives?), which I felt was a pivot point of sorts.

    The irony of the Ching 10 spot is I think it superficially established a bridge to the fans for the new stadium — and obviously sold tops — but with BBVA open, as the Dynamo fight for form, I’d rather have $200K worth of younger, more productive player.

  9. Dave says:

    +1 billion

  10. Huuuuurrrrr says:

    Derp. Galaxy sells out every away game. You think people aren’t there to see Beckham? Haters gonna hate.

  11. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think you’re over-estimating the fervor of FCD and Revs fans with Brek and Benny. One player among them in the top 25 and it’s no surprise to me it’s a productive forward.

    Kamara is flash where Bunbury is the lunchpail. Also, maybe Bunbury in the initial ascendancy, Nats-era, but of late?

    Seattle’s choices to me seem to reflect a longer term sense of value, an interesting display of discernment. EJ is reknowned for hot and cold running and maybe those buying jerseys are tempered accordingly?

    It also may factor in if the teams have some pre-numbered/ named. Ching has always been a fan favorite. Davis is also safe. But Taylor is an interesting Houston defender I liked immediately but for his first year and change he was not the flavor du jour around town. So if they’re selling pre-made jerseys guess whose are ready, til probably recently? That has to factor in and on some level reflects team politics and marketing. That being said, if you suck a la Marquez no amount of marketing will sell the jerseys over time.

  12. Mean Bill says:

    His dad sells them out of the trunk of his car in the stadium parking lot before every game. So far, he has sold seven, and traded one for a bratwurst and beer.

  13. The Imperative Voice says:

    I’m sure plenty of people come to see Beckham play on the road but he does not sell tickets in the same way and teams don’t package deal Beckham tickets anymore (buy a partial or season ticket package just to get the one game, for example), and I’m sure that fervor level translates to a downward trajectory on jersey sales.

    Saying that is intellectual distance, not hate. To me, by the time the broader media interest died down and he actually won something, he was more like Henry on steroids for the league.

    But then it was the league’s fault they insisted on rolling out an injured player year 1, allowed the ACM loan where he did the achilles soon after, etc. And then the LAG weren’t as advertised until Gullit was gone and Arena had time to make over the roster. By that time the non-soccer hype was waning and he became more of a soccer player. To his credit, he stuck around the league, achieved silverware with LAG, and even extended.

    But I think it’s overselling it to compare now to when he could pretty close to fill the Meadowlands for that high scoring game.

  14. MLS Fan From NC says:

    I’d love to see where these jerseys are being shipped to. Are some of the foreign players helping strengthen the brands of their team and the league as a whole overseas? I was personally surprised to see Y.P. Lee (who I am a fan of) as the top selling Whitecaps jersey. Is his jersey really the #1 jersey you see in Vancouver? Is there a market for his jersey in S. Korea?

  15. Vic says:

    Do players make any money if there jersey is sold?

  16. al17 says:

    You better believe that Beckham and Henry jerseys are moving like mad in Asia and are doing alright in Europe. Put it this way, when I see them being sold on French and English Football shops online (and they are) and I’m talking the big shops in those countries then it’s a GREAT thing for the league. It proves that those two investments are paying off.

    I wonder if the number of units sold per player is available.

  17. Gnarls says:

    I don’t know, but I’ve only bought jerseys from Ross/Marshalls/TJ Maxx and adidas outlets. Why anyone would spend $100+ on a shirt is beyond me.

  18. Gnarls says:

    Uh, I’m not sure what league you’re watching, but the Galaxy draw huge crowds everywhere they go. That’s because Beckham still has mass appeal.

  19. Gnarls says:

    Mike Magee! I love that he’s on the list.

  20. drew11 says:

    The numbers have to be tiny if Cahill zoomed up to #7 after just 2 months. Very few people other than relatives and friends are going to drop $100 on a player replica.

  21. Rory says:

    But his dad did add the fact that he could be selling jersies in Europe if he wanted to.

  22. Rory says:

    I never can find any there anymore! I got an awesome purple Newcastle away jersey for $20 during the season they wore those and never found another good soccer jersey.

  23. Rory says:

    He was, but then he disappeared.

  24. Rory says:

    I hear he has a very large family.

  25. GulatiOut says:

    Yeah he draws .. but he draws people that won’t even support the local side.

  26. Idahosa says:

    haha 4 from the LA galaxy :) thats right

  27. Yoko Ono says:

    LOL

  28. pogo says:

    I have found several at Ross this year, but they tend to be blank rather than “named”…

  29. Gnarls says:

    That’s true, they’re mostly blank or Beckham here in LA. Pretty sure if you had the patience, you could iron on a name in a name of your choice.

    “Jesus Magee” anyone? Anyone? Eh? Alright.

  30. Gnarls says:

    Isn’t the goal of a franchise to sell tickets? If they’re at a game, that means they bought a ticket, thus they’re supporting their side. They just don’t know it! Jokes on them.

  31. Gnarls says:

    He’s very virile.

  32. bigprof says:

    what kind of numbers are we talking about?

  33. REX says:

    Well played.

  34. REX says:

    5 current for former Dynamo players. Too bad you cant buy a Dom Kinnear jersey.

  35. The Imperative Voice says:

    I’m watching NYRB playing him in Red Bull Arena instead of the Meadowlands, that’s what I’m watching.

    I also believe that while he often sells out games there are now exceptions. Law of diminishing returns. The irony to me is that as the hype has died down and the loans and callups ended, his team has become more successful, with him as a regular, important cog…..what in a more innocent world the team would have wanted, and probably after thoughts of jerseys, sponsors, TV, etc., might have considered as an afterthought.

  36. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think the new teams and new stadia and steadily improving player pool have more to do with league success than Beckham hype washing in and then back out. However, I would say that the later years of a competitive Galaxy outweigh the hype in terms of long term value. I don’t like the league doing favors and I’m not sold on the tiering consequences of multiple DPs, but good teams in LA and NY are probably good for a growing league.

  37. The Imperative Voice says:

    Hahahaha. You do know he traded Wondo for Cam Weaver, DeRo for Julius James, and ran Kamara out of town in exchange for Abe Thompson. This sort of lopsided trading and loss of players to transfer resulted in a deterioration of personnel not overcome until the past two years. But you were headed to the store to buy your Trust in Dom jersey?

  38. Enos says:

    I’m shocked as a DC United fan that Hamdi Salihi and Bronko Boskovic didn’t make the cut. Shocked. Our DPs are awesomer.

  39. bcoug says:

    This was the biggest head scratcher for me – what would prompt someone to buy a Magee jersey?
    Even if I was inclined to buy a Galaxy jersey and already had the DPs covered, Magee wouldn’t be my next (or second or third or fourth) choice for purchase.

  40. shake says:

    Replica? Nah, I sprung for the authentic.

  41. shake says:

    What they don’t tell you here is that half the Magee jerseys are being sold as goalie jerseys…

  42. krazymunky says:

    Yeah thats because they buy Mexico Marquez jerseys

  43. PetedeLA says:

    He’s been my favorite player with them for a while.

    Donovan is better, but it always seems that he only gives 80%.

    If I had an extra 100 bucks or so to throw around I’d get a Magee jersey, too.

  44. Tom says:

    Jesus Magee…

  45. Huuuuurrrrr says:

    I agree with all of your points, but I still say it is naive to think he doesn’t sell stadiums out on the road. I’ve seen it when traveling to LA away games.

    And to your point below, the team is indeed much more successful when he is a regular on the field.

  46. Jay says:

    tell Benny that

    seriously, how do you expect their shirt to sell when they A) dont make it onto the field and B) might be gone by the next transfer window

    folks at RFK will laugh you and the guy with a Gallardo jersey out of the stadium

  47. I guess this could help explain why it’s worth it for the MLS to continually sign over aged former European stars. I take the opposite view in a post I wrote for Footballer Minute, link to footballerminute.com