Barcelona will put a potential naming rights deal for their iconic Camp Nou Stadium to a members’ vote.
The Spanish giants have plans in place for a €600m (£536m) redevelopment of their stadium and have consulted American sports marketing firm Van Wagner for assistance.
Barcelona’s members — or socios — vote on key issues in the club’s off-the-pitch development including on who should be president.
Current incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu — under pressure following the club’s sale of Neymar and failure to capture Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho in the summer transfer window, as well as his handling of political issues related to Catalan independence — pressed on fans the financial imperative to find a naming rights partner.
Barcelona, who had no shirt sponsor at all until 2006, recently benefited from a record-equalling £47m-a-year shirt sponsorship deal with Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten.
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However, adding a brand name to the stadium will be put to a vote at an extraordinary assembly next year once a deal in principle has been agreed with a sponsor.
Bartomeu, speaking at an assembly of delegate members, said the revenue generated from such a deal would be greater than expected.
“We have to keep working hard to ensure we have the best installations in the world in the best city in the world,” he said.
“The renovation of Camp Nou is essential to achieve new income for the club. In that regard, negotiations to find a company to sponsor the stadium are going well.
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“It looks like we will go above the level of income we had approached and during the first semester of next year we will call an extraordinary assembly.”
The delegates’ assembly took place with an extraordinary political backdrop in Catalonia with regional government and pro-independence movements are locked in a bitter dispute with the government in Madrid.
Bartomeu urged fans not to project their own allegiances when it comes to independence onto other supporters of the club.
“We know Barcelona are more than a club and Camp Nou is a place for expression,” said Bartomeu.
“Precisely for that reason, we ask for respect for our institution and freedom of thought among our socios. We cannot be a political instrument, no one can use or manipulate our bade or our flag, we will not let them be used.”
The spectre of Catalonia becoming independence has led to fears that Barcelona could be kicked out of the Spanish football league.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has said the Blaugrana would not be allowed to continue in the division should the split take place, but Bartomeu looked to play down the possibility.
“You can be sure that this board will always act in the club’s defence,” he said.
“We will never put the club nor its presence in any competition at risk. That’s why, to all the club’s members, I say that we want to continue playing in La Liga and, as of today, our participation os guaranteed. It’s mutually beneficial for La Liga and Barcelona for that link to continue.”
The five-time European champions also announced revenue for last season surpassed €700m for the first time in the club’s history, in part thanks to the massive world record fee received for Neymar from PSG and a 13 per cent rise in marketing income to nearly €300m.
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With revenue at €708m, that puts Barcelona above Real Madrid who recently announced they had generated €674.6m in revenue for last season.
In such rude health, members then overwhelmingly approved a budget of €897m for the current season.
A summary of the statement of accounts for FC Barcelona’s 2016/17 season #FCBlive pic.twitter.com/xB3s400k69
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 21, 2017
Profit-after-tax for the 2016/17 campaign came in at €18m and is forecast to rise to €21m next year.
Source : CityA.M.