Barcelona Sponsorship Deal for Famed Jersey?

FC Barcelona, along with Athletic de Bilbao, is one of only two teams in the Spanish soccer (football) league to have refused to give up the rights to their kit. In the past there have been discussions about selecting a corporate sponsor or promoting an event to generated more revenue, but now they’ve just recently announced and wore for the first time in the Champions League game against Werder Bremen, their jersey with a UNICEF logo on the jersey.

Previously: Club president Joan Laporta is in China to seal a 100m-euro (£68m; $129m) deal to promote Beijing as the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games. Set up in 1899, the Catalan club has never sold the rights to its shirts. Any deal is set to be controversial as supporters have fought to protect the purity of the red-and-blue team strip.

Cash or culture?

According to press reports, Barcelona would put just the word “Beijing” on the front of their shirts. The simplicity of the logo and its link with the Olympic Games, rather than with a corporation or business , is hoped to win support for the deal, the papers said.

Other football shirt deals

  • Newport County Goldie Lookin’ Chain
  • AC Milan Pooh Jeans
  • Scarborough FC Black Death Vodka
  • Atletico Madrid (See above) Columbia Tristar Pictures
  • Sheffield Wednesday Chupa Chups
  • Fulham FC Pizza Hut
  • York City FC Portakabin

Barcelona said that its president is in China to discuss a sponsorship deal, but declined to give further details. Newspapers have said that any deal would run for five years and after the Beijing Olympics, Barcelona would promote the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Instead, quite without warning, Barcelona’s top brass have gone in a very different direction. Last Thursday, president Joan Laporta signed up to a five-year collaborative agreement with Unicef that will see Barcelona not only sport the children’s charity’s banner on its shirts, which they did for the first time yesterday night against Levski Sofia, but also contribute just over £1m to its humanitarian projects each year. Obviously that sort of money is barely going to register a dent in the club’s finances, but if you take into account how much they could have made from selling to a conventional sponsor [surely even more than Juventus’s £15m-a-year deal with Tamoil], the decision is staggering. Read more…

Quote: “For the first time in our more than 107 years of history, our main soccer team will wear an emblem on the front of its shirt,” said Laporta at a Unicef executive committee meeting. “It will not be the brand name of a corporation. It will not be a commercial to promote some kind of business. It will be the logo of ‘Unicef’. Through Unicef, we, the people of FC Barcelona, the people of ‘Barça’, are very proud to donate our shirt to the children of the world who are our present, but especially are our future.”

The Barcelona soccer club and the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, announced a deal on Thursday in which the team will donate $1.9 million (1.5 million euros) a year over the next five years to help poor children with AIDS in developing countries.

The first installment of the club’s money will pay for AIDS programs in Swaziland, a tiny, impoverished country in southern Africa where some 40 percent of adults are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The money will fund efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission and infection among adolescents and to support and care for children orphaned by the disease.

As part of the deal, the Spanish and European champion’s scarlet and blue jersey will have UNICEF’s logo on its front, the first time in the club’s 107-year history it has allowed such an arrangement. (1 euro = $1.2728)

Read more…

In the MLS the Galaxy have a new jersey sponsor: 

AEG, operators of the Galaxy, announced the signing of a five-year, multimillion sponsorship contract with Herbalife Ltd. on Friday, giving the direct-sales company the right to showcase its brand name across the front of the team jersey.

The agreement first was reported Thursday night in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal, which said the deal would pay the Galaxy between $3.5 million and $5 million a year through 2011.

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