March 23 – FC Barcelona have officially unveiled their Barça Innovation Hub (BIH) with the aim of positioning the club as the leader in sports knowledge, innovation and technology.
Barcelona plan to work with universities and research centres, start-ups, sponsors, entrepreneurs and investment partners to lead the way in areas including health and high performance sport.
The BIH will focus on the five areas of team sports, sports performance, medical services and nutrition, technology and social sciences. It will collaborate with universities and research centres, as well as start-ups, sponsors, and entrepreneurs.
It will also work with investment partners and expects the BIH to become a revenue-generating business as it develops and sells products, technology and services.
The project will be led by Barca board member Jordi Monés and will be based at Barcelona’s La Masia academy with 15-20 full-time employees, though it was emphasised it is focussed on working with the best ideas and people worldwide.
“We need to be in a position to win all the time. It’s very demanding. Our followers, our friends, our members, their expectations are very demanding. To do that, we need to be on the cutting edge of everything. This means we are reinventing ourselves all the time. It’s a must. It’s not a luxury,” said Monés.
The project is part of Barcelona’s 2015-21 strategic plan and will cost about €1 million a year to run initially.
A Barcelona statement said: “The core aspects of this pioneering project are aimed at creating the sports industry’s number one centre for knowledge and innovation, thereby generating value both for the Club and for society in general. … The Club is looking to use the Barça Innovation Hub to form an ecosystem fostering knowledge and innovation by promoting a culture of excellence, transparency, openness, and collaboration with prestigious brands, universities, research centres, start-ups, entrepreneurs, students, athletes, investors, and visionaries around the world.”
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