Part 1 – How Does A Pre Season Tour Affect Merchandising?

A couple of days back I ended the 2030-2031 season of my Southampton save. It was the first time ever for Southampton to win the Premier League title (mind you, I have been in charge of The Saints for almost three seasons at this point) so I took a moment to sit back and read all the messages of the board, supporters and club icons who praised me for winning the title against all odds. Then I came across the following message:

  The last paragraph struck me as very interesting. For one I could not recall I planned a tour in the US of A in the preseason. So I went on to check my pre season:It turns out I was right: I never went on a tour. However I did play one match in the US against New England Revolution. Conclusion: the match versus New England had a significant effect on my merchandising revenue.

With this knowledge I came up with a simple test to measure the impact of pre season tours on merchandising income. To make it more specific I came up with the following research question:

What is the impact on merchandising income of pre season tours in the USA for Chelsea?

In this example I will be using Chelsea as research subject. Please understand that whatever the outcome of this test may be could vary based on a multitude of factors that are unknown for me but likely to exist outside of my span of knowledge. However if this article proves to be a success I might want to elaborate on this article by identifying some of these factors. Merchandise oriented satellite clubs likely being one of them.


The way of how I go about measuring this is simple. I will load up a standard FM save with me in charge of Chelsea where I will play (1) Five pre seasons with no season tour preferably in any foreign country but certainly not in the US and (2) five pre seasons with a tour in the USA playing the most competitive opponents possible. I assume in this simulation that the preseason merchandising income will be recorded in the days the preseason match occurs (in other words I do not account for merchandising income after the preseason matches ends).

The first day of the simulation will always be the same, regardless of pre season US tour or not. Here is the starting financial situation.

Note how Merchandising Income is 0 Euros

For the first series of five simulations I had to cancel the friendlies vs Montreal Impact, LA Galaxy and Toronto FC and replaced them with matches against domestic teams. Friendlies against Udinese and A.C. Milan will go on as planned.

For the second series of five simulations I arranged friendlies against Udinese, Birmingham and A.C. Milan to keep the basis as similar as possible and replaced the other two games with matches against Sporting Kansas City and the Seattle Sounders.


In the following table the results of the simulation rounds are shown.

On the one hand you can conclude that a US Tour does not neccesarily mean an increase in merchandising income. At least not immediately and not always.  However, in two rounds financial outcomes  of the US tour simulation outscore the result of the highest simulation round of the ‘No Tour series’.  The lower average outcome of 3,738,444.80 is highly affected by the remarkable low results of simulation rounds 3 and 5. Why? I have not the slightest idea.

Naturally there are factors that distort the results of this little experiment. Club reputations and match results for example could be factors that have an affect on the outcome. Maybe the tour must be longer to outperform the financial results of playing domestic friendlies. Maybe even the player reputation of the players you’re fielding has something to do with it. The only thing I know is that I started this experiment to answer one question, but ended it with 10 unanswered ones. One thing is certain: there is not always a financial benefit in going on a tour abroad. If that benefit can be achieved with a 100% certainty and how it can be achieved I really would like to know 🙂


8 responses to “Part 1 – How Does A Pre Season Tour Affect Merchandising?

  1. Hey, great article mate… Its alwats intrigued me as to whether these tours are worthwhile and Turning my club into a highly profitable club is always my ambition on fm.

    Personally ive found that having a tour in a country that you already have an affiliate in tends to increase the effect that a tour has (maybe because you already have a reputation in that country)
    Also a reason why you may find that you are not seeing much of a difference between a us tour and the friendlies that you picked is because playing friendlies in a country against high reputation teams in other countries (such as Ac) tends to have an increase in your merchandising sales…. Believe it or not but my entirely unremarkable west ham side in 2018 with absolutely no trophies to our name (yet) sell alot of shirts in spain, this is due to the fact that i play barcelona and madrid every off season (at first due to appearance fees) and now because i am already known there. Again a great article and hope what ive said helps in any way

    • Hey Colm! The things you’re mentioning are exactly aspects that I would like to show in hard statistics. Thanks for your helpful comment, I really appreciate it!

  2. One thing which I will point out is how graphical representation of statisitcs can be misleading. Although, yes, there are differences between the amounts obtained in seasons 3 and 5, the fact that only the graph above £3,000,000 is shown means that the distance will appear bigger between the two.

    Very interesting article though, nice work! I think this is something which could be investigated at great lengths should somebody choose to. I believe your idea that the discrepancies between seasons to be partially down to changing reputations to be spot on, but I’m not sure how this could be tested.

    • You’re right, the graph could be somewhat misleading which is why I included the table for exact numbers personal simulation 🙂 Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it!

  3. Interesting observation and – yes – raising some more questions.

    I’d like to see what happens when I play say five friendlies abroad against high reputation clubs – and all from different countries vs a classical tour to one country.
    And, to back that up (as it seems that a club’s reputation grows with time and presence), do that for some years to see what the long term benefit is.
    I can imagine that a widespread but consistent approach overcomes the one year US, one year China tour plan. Maybe, maybe not.

    • Great suggestion Tery! I really like how this small simulation has loads of interesting options to elaborate on and yours is certainly one of them.

  4. Pingback: The Relationship Between Merchandise Income and Playing Your Affiliate During A Tour | AlexOnFM·

  5. Pingback: A Money-Making Pre-Season Scheme | Strikerless·

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