FC Barcelona team jerseys will sport the Qatar Airways logo for the next three years effective July 1, the group has announced today.
Barca’s tie-up with the national carrier is its first deal with a corporate sponsor, and part of a $230 million five year deal with Qatar Sports Investments.
The agreement, which initially involved Qatar Foundation but allowed for a sponsor change after two years, was arguably the largest such deal in football history. It was also the first time that the team’s jerseys sported paid advertising in 112 years.
The new deal with Qatar Airways was a decision made by QSI and first announced in November, but more details were unveiled today during a ceremony in Barcelona.
Under the new agreement, FC Barcelona will get some $45 million a season in exchange for wearing the airline-branded jerseys until June 2016, an agreement that CEO Akbar Al Baker said will elevate the Qatar-based company’s brand.
Incidentally, competing football club Real Madrid announced in July that it will sport the Emirates Airline logo on their jerseys starting in 2013.
Referring to Spain’s financial woes, club president Sandro Rosell said today:
“This deal is good for our club, good for our city and good for our country.”
In 2011, football fans condemned Barca for tying up with QF and moving the UNICEF logo, which it had sported since 2006, to the back of its jerseys.
But this new change is unlikely to meet the same resistance.
The Herald Sun reports:
With Spain one of the European countries hardest hit by the global financial crisis, and television revenue expected to fall in coming seasons, 90 per cent of members recently voted in favour of allowing corporate sponsorship on the team’s shirts for the first time since it was founded in 1889.
The second richest club in the world after Manchester United, the so-called “people’s club” Futbul Club Barcelona is entirely owned by its supporters, who elect presidents and vote on key decisions relating to the future direction of the club.
Thought it will no longer appear on the jerseys, QF will remain the official “human development” partner.
Credit: Photo courtesy of FC Barcelona