opinions | 2017-09-16
Barcelona needs to start seeking flexible sponsorships
As English clubs continue to explore surprising partners, it's time for Barcelona to do the same
When Barcelona announced the Qatar Foundation shirt sponsorship, turmoil was gigantic among the fanbase. A football club that always took pride on resisting to the lure of big money from many of the world's massive brands had finally bent and accepted what was at the time the biggest deal in football history through a country known for controversial working regulations among other issues. Qatar Foundation soon gave way to Qatar Airways and a club wide sponsorship that lasted for years.
Eventually, the club paid dearly for involving itself with Qatar when the country itself paid Neymar's €222m release clause and gifted him to their club PSG. Barcelona started seeking for new sponsors and thanks to Gerard Piqué's ingenuity, the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten was brought in as the new main shirt sponsors. However, it's clear that the club is still lacking in that regard when compared to English clubs, and other top European clubs such as Bayern Munich, partially owned by their sponsors Audi, and Juventus, that recently signed a deal with CyGames, a Japanese game company.
For example, English clubs have been sponsored by companies such as the Mansion Group who's responsible on many companies like Casino.com, which used to sponsor two Premier League clubs at the same time (Crystal Palace and Bournemouth), which is uncommon to say the least. Clubs such as Chelsea have taken fans by surprise by signing a deal with the Japanese Yokohama Tires, Tottenham holds a massive deal with the Asian life insurance company AIA and surprise league champions Leicester have the Taiwanese King Power emblazoned on their shirt.
If that wasn't enough, the club that really stands out the most when it comes to sponsors is no other than Manchester United, recently linked with a Tinder sponsorship that led to many jokes on social media. Little fans know that a dating app wouldn't even come close to their strangest sponsors, such as the CHI company for Nigerian soft drinks, AP Honda for Thailandese motorcycles and the Azerbaijani telecommunications company Bakcell.
It's easy to laugh at this kind of thing, but what the Manchester clubs shows is the kind of shrewd flexibility when it comes to sponsors that Barcelona lacks and should be implementing on its ranks. One of the biggest clubs in the world can still do more and become even bigger, I can't wait for the day Barcelona's announces its first partner from Cabo Verde.
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