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Day One Balotelli Shirt Sales Appear Underwhelming

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Managing director Ian Ayre has touted £50k in first-day Mario Balotelli shirt sales as a sign of what the club is doing right. Looking more closely, though, it seems a rather underwhelming number.

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Jamie McDonald

Speaking on a "How to run a club successfully" panel at the Soccerex Conference, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre sought to give everyone involved in Liverpool's resurgence under Fenway Sports Group a pat on the back. And, to be fair, those involved in the club's return to the limelight following the disastrous reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett do deserve credit.

The manner in which Ayre sought to do it, though, will have left more than a few people scratching their heads. Speaking to the club's improving ability to capitalise on opportunities to bring in new revenue, from commercial deals to the manner in which the club presents its new signings, he turned to Mario Balotelli's day one shirt sales to bestow a kind of confirmatory proof.

"Liverpool had success and opportunities to develop in the past and didn't take them," Liverpool's managing director said today according to the Echo, the Telegraph, and numerous other sources. "That won't happen again. Having the right people and trust allows the club to maximise signings like Balotelli, leading to £50k in shirt sales."

The problem is, £50k in first day shirt sales doesn't actually seem like very much once you begin to break it down. It almost sounds impressive if you don't give it much thought, but dissecting the sales numbers will for many lead to the exact opposite reaction of what Ayre would have hoped for. That's because at more than £60 per shirt, £50k in first day sales equates to around 800 shirts sold.

By comparison, Real Madrid's signing of James Rodriguez led to claims of more than £300k in first day sales—or around 5,000 shirts sold. The Spanish club further claims to have sold more than 900 Rodriguez replica shirts within an hour of signing him. So. Congrats to Ian Ayre and everyone else involved in turning Liverpool around. You really do deserve it.

It's just that trumpeting the sale of 800 shirts on the first day for your flashiest summer signing as though it's proof of much more than that Liverpool sold around 800 shirts on the first day for their flashiest signing of the summer seems a little odd and, in the grand scheme of European football, to not actually be all that impressive.