FC Barcelona and Qatar Foundation: A Done Deal

Hi guys,
A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out Barca fans disappointment of the partnership between the Catalan club and Qatar Foundation, as them (the fans) wanting the butter, the money for the butter and the dairyman’s daughter. The debate is now over. Indeed, the members have unanimously accepted the shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Sports Investment that will bring in 171 million euros over five years.

The first of three major issues to be put to the Assembly was the sponsorship deal with the company Qatar Sports Investment (QSI). Economic vice president, Javier Faus explained the details of the deal to promote the Qatar Foundation, which is responsible for social, education and scientific projects and whose name appears on the first team football shirt.

Reversible contract

The vice president told the members that the Board felt it had no choice but to accept shirt sponsorship because “it has a substantial economic impact”. Faus also said that the agreement is specifically reversible, in order for “future Boards to be able to change the decision … We wanted to solve financial questions but didn’t want the agreement to be irreversible”, who added that the deal with Qatar Sport Investment will end at when the current Board’s mandate comes to an end.

Seven non-negotiable conditions

The Board of Directors had placed seven non-negotiable conditions on any such deal: it had to be compatible with Barça’s values, compatible with Unicef, to be the highest shirt sponsorship deal in the world, to be absolutely solvent in the form of a bank guarantee, had to be closed immediately and there had to be a relevant payment in the 2010/11 season, which was 15 million euros, and it had to be for five years. The deal also had to stipulate that from the third year, FC Barcelona would be able to decide whether to continue wearing the Qatar Foundation name or switch to another.

171 million euros in income

Faus explained that the agreement supposes income over five years of 171 million euros distributed as 15 million euros (2010/11), 26 million (2011/12), 29 million (2012/13), 30.5 million (2013/14), 32 million (2014/15) and 33.5 million (2015/16), plus 5 and a half million more if Barça win the Champions League during this period.

Smoke-free stadium

The Assembly also has voted unanimously for the smoking ban to be applied to the Camp Nou. The Board said this reflected a commitment to “health, sport and respect”. Supporters have already been encouraged not to smoke, but this rule has now been made an obligation and will be applied “gradually over two or three months”. [Source: FC Barcelona.com]

My point is very simple. Without sponsors, NO football club can generate revenue to be competitive locally and globally. Yes, the line is very thin between respecting the club’s values and getting as much money in as possible, but I believe the Blaugrana staff is doing a pretty good job.

I truly believe that fans are more and more aware of the presence of sponsors and most of football lovers do not see them in a good light. Guys make no mistake. A sponsor’s objective is not to rip the club from its values and from what it stands for. It’s a partnership where both parties benefit from it. Having worked long enough for a football brand, I can relate to this.

Karl Lusbec

PS: I encourage you to read POWER SPONSORSHIP, the sponsorship blog and website of Kim Skildum-Reid. Tons of spot on information on Sponsorship, documents to download etc. Have a look!

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