Barca close in on new sponsor deal but keep Qatar Airways in the mix

November 11 – Rumours have intensified that Barcelona are close to announcing a new main sponsor who will replace Qatar Airways on the front of the club’s shirt. The deal is expected to be announced next month, but the identity of the new sponsor is still a secret.

Barcelona are still in negotiation with Qatar Airways who are expected to move from the shirt to another premium advertising position, potentially the naming rights to the revamped stadium and surrounding area, the Espai Barça.

Spanish media have reported that “talks are advanced” after months of meetings

Amazon and a Chinese brand are favourites for the shirt position that will be the biggest in world club football, likely upwards of £75 million a season. Barcelona is represented in China by IMG.

The retention of Qatar Airways within the club’s commercial framework is important for the club as it needs to keep big money partners to ease the financial pressure of the €600 million renovation of the Nou Camp. There are few global sponsors who can invest at that level.

The club renewed its kit deal in May with US sportswear giant Nike that, with performance bonuses, isestimated to be worth £120 million per season. The Nike partnership began in 1998 and, before the May renewal, would have ended in 2018. It is the biggest deal in club football worldwide, surpassing that of Real Madrid with Adidas.

In their 2014/15 financial statement Barcelona showed revenue of €608 million. The club says that by 2021 it will grow revenue to more than €1 billion annually. Forbes earlier this year rated the club as the second-most valuable club in the world at $3.56 billion, behind Real Madrid.

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