Spanish LaLiga champion club Barcelona has announced the incorporation of a new company that will oversee the management of its retail, licensing and merchandising activity. The move effectively replaces Nike out of the club’s merchandising business which the US sportswear brand has handled for 16 years.
Barça Licensing and Merchandising (BLM), to be wholly owned by Barcelona, will start operations from the 2018-19 season and will look after the merchandising business of the club.
The club’s merchandising rights are currently managed by FCB Merchandising, which is owned by Nike – the official kit sponsor of the club. The contract is due to expire on July 1, after which the newly formed company BLM will take on the rights.
Incidentally, July 1 also marks the start of Nike’s new eight-year sponsorship deal with Barcelona, which will run through to the 2025-26 season.
“This new approach pursues several objectives: greater economic profitability, direct control of the brand, the possibility of offering our fans a 100 per cent Barça experience, and a boost to innovation and new technologies,” the club has said in its official release.
Barcelona’s current merchandising business consists of three of their own stores, 15 licensed stores, 328 licensees, and over 250 workers. According to the club, there are more than 7,000 products contributing to an annual turnover of around €65 million ($77m).
The club has finished the 2017-18 LaLiga season as champions, claiming their third title in four years.