why are mlb jerseys so expensive

Why are Major League Baseball Jerseys So Expensive?

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If you are a baseball fan you may have had the urge to buy your favorite baseball player’s jersey.  Did you experience any sort of “sticker shock” when you saw how expensive Major League Baseball jerseys are?  Did you wonder why these MLB jerseys are priced so high?  In this article, we will go over why MLB jerseys are so expensive in price.

MLB jerseys are so expensive mainly because of the age-old economic principle of supply and demand.  Major League Baseball is immensely popular around the world and the demand for authentic player jerseys always runs at a high level.  Also, the overall supply level for MLB jerseys is low because there is only one manufacturer.  As you may know if you have ever studied economics, when demand is high, and supply is low the price is always on the high end.

To learn more about why MLB jerseys are so expensive and what factors contribute to the overall price, keep reading!

Contributing Factors to the Price of Major League Baseball Jerseys

In addition to the supply and demand economic theory, here are some other contributing factors as to why the price of MLB jerseys is high.

  • Emotional ReasonsBaseball fans often experience a deep emotional pull toward their favorite MLB player.  Retail companies know they can charge a premium because of this deep emotional connection between fan and player. 
  • Being a “True fan” In some hardcore baseball circles, you are not thought of as a “true fan” of a player unless you wear that player’s jersey.  We know this concept may seem a bit strange to some but think about it.  The word fan is short for the word “fanatic”.  Fanatics are not always logical, but they always have extreme devotion and passion.  Retailers know they can capitalize on the fanatic’s deep zeal for their favorite baseball player.
  • Costly Details MLB jerseys contain fancy stitching and detailed logos, which further increases the costs due to the intense labor involved.
  • It is a Monopoly This goes along with the supply and demand principle from above, but we will mention it again to really drive this point home.  Major League Baseball only licenses one company to make their authentic gameday jerseys. This lack of competition means that this one company can charge whatever price they want to, in theory.  A monopoly never leads to low prices no matter what the product may be.

The Cost of Purchasing a Major League Baseball Jersey

You may be wondering how much cash you will have to shell out if you want to buy your favorite player’s jersey.  Youth jerseys can be purchased anywhere from $40 to as high as $80 each.  Replica adult jerseys go for around $100 to $150 each.  Authentic gameday jerseys are by far the most expensive, coming in at $250-$300 each.  Many baseball fans feel the authentic jerseys are worth the higher price since they typically last much longer than the Replica versions.

Interesting Facts about MLB Jerseys

Here are some compelling additional facts about MLB jerseys.

  • The first MLB jerseys were made of wool. Can you imagine how hot it was during the summer months playing in wool jerseys? Holy cow!  That had to have been miserable for the baseball players!
  • In 1916, the Cleveland Indians became the first team in Major League Baseball to wear jerseys with a number on them.  The numbers were located on the sleeves and not on the back of the jerseys. This experiment only lasted a few weeks before the team decided to do away with the numbers.
  • Teams started wearing jerseys with numbers on the back in the year 1929 when both the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees began this trend.
  • Starting in 2020, Nike became the official jersey provided of Major League Baseball.  Nike reportedly paid Major League Baseball more than 1 billion dollars as part of the new contract.  This new agreement gives each Major League Baseball team more than 3 million dollars per year in added revenue.
  •  Nike offers two different options when it comes to buying MLB jerseys: Replica and Authentic. Replica is a much cheaper option but does NOT have the custom stitching that the Authentic version has.  The Authentic jerseys are an exact representation of what the MLB players wear on the field during games.
  • A company called Majestic was the official jersey manufacturer for Major League Baseball before Nike acquired the contract in 2020.  Majestic had the jersey license from 2004-2020.  Due to there being an overstock on the Majestic brand MLB jerseys, baseball fans can purchase the older models at discounted prices via online websites.
  • In the early days of baseball, MLB teams usually donned gray jerseys while on the road.  This was because it was difficult to properly launder and clean the jerseys while on a road trip.  The gray color helped hide the dirt stains.  The invention of the washing machine and the popularity of laundromats was a big help to baseball teams.
  • Most MLB teams now have a designated jersey for both “home” and “away”.  However, most teams now have a special “Sunday only” jersey.  Most teams also have separate jerseys that are worn only during batting practice.  Many people feel that the reason teams have so many jersey options is so they can sell more types of jerseys to consumers.
  • The current best-selling MLB jersey is that of Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Mookie Betts.  Betts is followed by New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper in terms of jersey popularity.
  • The most expensive Major League Baseball jersey was one of legendary Yankees slugger Babe Ruth.  Ruth’s jersey from the 1920’s sold for nearly four and a half million dollars at Leland’s Auction House.  It is the most anyone has ever paid for a piece of sports history.

What is the most difficult part of buying an MLB jersey?

By far the most difficult aspect of buying an MLB jersey is determining the correct size. All jerseys, regardless of what pro sport, are tricky to size for the average person. Jerseys are not sized like any standard t-shirt or dress shirt. 

For men, jerseys follow a numerical sizing system that usually offers six available sizes: 40-44-48-52-56-60. A size 44 is considered a Large but it is best to use a measuring tape to determine your chest size.  This will save you the annoying headache of possibly having to return your baseball jersey and exchange it for a different size.

The sizing system is much different for women’s jerseys.  There are 10 different sizes available for women: Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, Double Extra Large, Plus 1, Plus 2, Plus 3, and Plus 4. 

What are Major League Baseball jerseys made of?

MLB jerseys are made from double-knit polyester.  MLB teams switched to this type of fabric back in the 1970’s.  The Pittsburgh Pirates were the first team to wear this new material during the opening of their new ballpark, Three Rivers Stadium.  Double-knit polyesters are exceptionally durable and wrinkle resistant, but they are not cheap fabrics.  This contributes to the high cost of MLB jerseys.

See Also:
Why Do Baseball Players Wear Chains?
What Is The Difference Between New Era And 47 Hats?
Why Is The American Flag Backwards On Baseball Uniforms?

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