Atlanta United has released a range of new T-shirts that commemorate their victory over Portland in the MLS Cup final last weekend. The team’s red, black and gold “five stripes” jersey has been a massive hit with fans this year and the limited-edition T-shirts are also likely to prove popular.
Gerardo Martino’s men won 21 out of 34 regular season games and then vanquished New York FC and New York Red Bulls in the playoffs to surge into the MLS Cup final. They beat Portland 2-0 last weekend courtesy of strikes from Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar. That has led to a spike in shirt sales and bolstered Atlanta United’s status as the most valuable MLS franchise.
Martinez won the Golden Boot award this season after banging in a record-breaking 35 goals. Only LA Galaxy stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela finished ahead of him in the chart of the top 25 shirt sellers during the regular season. That put Martinez ahead of Wayne Rooney of DC United, Bastian Schweinsteiger of Chicago Fire and David Villa of New York FC. Another Atlanta United star, Miguel Almiron, was fifth in the chart, with teammate Ezequiel Barco in 10th, Darlington Nagbe in 15th and Hector Vallalba in 18th in a list dominated by the team.
Shirt sales are expected to have soared since the regular season ended, so the likes of Martinez and Almiron could well have overtaken Ibrahimovic by now. If you look at the MLS Cup odds at a leading sportsbook like BetOnline you will notice that Atlanta United is the favorite to win the MLS Cup again next season. If they can pull it off, they will shift many more of their iconic kits and it will boost their commercial strength even further.
It is all the more remarkable when you consider that the franchise was only launched in 2017. It has already broken MLS attendance records, and it has one of the largest fan bases in the league. Forbes estimates that the franchise is already worth more than $300 million, making it the most valuable in MLS. That is all down to its popularity with fans, which was nurtured by the club’s decision to involve them in choosing the name, logo, color scheme and kit.
The team’s colors are black for strength and power, red for pride and passion and gold for a commitment to excellence. Adidas makes the kit, with its traditional three stripes running along the shoulders in gold. It has sparked the team’s nickname, the Five Stripes, and it is likely to remain as their primary kit for many years to come. The special edition MLS Cup tees come in a range of colors. A black one has the word “Conquered” emblazoned in gold across the chest, a grey one says “Champions 2019” and a red one says “Unite And Conquer”, while there is a black one with “Vamos ATL Campeones” on it for Spanish speaking fans.
It does not stop there, as supporters can choose from a range of 2018 MLS Cup Champs hats, in white, grey or black, plus hoodies, fleeces and scarves, along with other accessories. Unite and Conquer became the team’s slogan as it vanquished all comers in the league this year, and those T-shirts are likely to prove extremely popular among the team’s millions of new fans.
Whether they can unite and conquer once again remains to be seen, as they will now have a battle on their hands as they try to keep hold of star players like Martinez and Almiron. European heavyweights are likely to come knocking, so it will be interesting to see if Atlanta United sell and reinvest the cash in new players, which would certainly help with shirt sales next year.