La Liga champions: A class act on and off the field

La Liga 2017/18 season champions Barcelona: A class act on and off the field - InsideSport

Barcelona have clinched their 25th LaLiga title on Sunday, a week after assuring themselves of their fourth-straight Copa del Rey crown. This is Barca’s seventh title in 10 La Liga 10 seasons. They are inching closer to the record for eight more titles held by arch-rivals Real Madrid.

Barcelona is following its impressive feat on the field with equally strong gains on the commercial pitch. Barcelona is ranked among the highest earning football clubs around the world. Its marquee player, legendary Lionel Messi is now the highest paid footballers around the world, after having dethroned Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi also sails ahead of Ronaldo as the top scorer of the season.

The commercial success of the club is jaw-dropping as much as its performance in top-flight competitions at domestic, continental and global levels.

REVENUES & NET-WORTH

According to Deloitte Football Money League, Barcelona is the world’s third richest football club in terms of revenue. The club has an annual turnover of $780.23 million (€648.3m) in 2017. The club has dropped from the second spot from the last ranking behind Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Barcelona was listed at second place behind Manchester United in Forbes’ list of the most valuable football clubs with $688 million annual revenue in 2016 with its net value at $3.63 billion, a 12% rise from the previous Forbes evaluations for professional football clubs. In 2017, the club was listed at the fourth spot (behind ManU and ahead of Real Madrid) in Forbes most valuable sports teams around the world with $3.64 billion valuation. Surprisingly, the three teams are the only football clubs among the top 10 list, dominated by MLB and NFL giants.

OWNERSHIP

Interestingly, Barcelona is one of the three founding members of the Spanish Primera Division who have never been relegated from the top division. Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid are the other two. Unlike many other football clubs, the supporters own and operate Barcelona.

Like Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona is a registered non-profit sports association. Unlike most other clubs registered as limited liability companies with share capital and stock exchange listing, Barcelona members cannot purchase/sell shares or trade ownership options. The members of Barcelona, called Socis, form an assembly of delegates which is the highest governing body of the club. As of 2016, the club has 140,000 socis.

SPONSORSHIPS AND COMMERCIAL DEALS

Barcelona, without a doubt, can be counted as the forerunners among other clubs around the world who have not just amassed gargantuan wealth and also donated a significant chunk of it through various charity and benevolent initiatives.

Barcelona, prior to 2011-12 season, had a long history of avoiding corporate sponsorship on their jersey. On July 14, 2006, the club announced a five-year agreement with UNICEF, which includes having the UNICEF logo on their shirts. The FC Barcelona Foundation, under the terms of the agreement, has been donating €1.5 million ($1.8 m) per year to UNICEF.

The FC Barcelona Foundation was constituted in 1994 on the suggestion of then-chairman of the Economical-Statutory Committee, Jaime Gil-Aluja with an aim to attract financial sponsorships to support the non-profit sports company. In 2004, a company could become one of 25 “Honorary members” by contributing between £40,000–60,000 ($55,000-$85,000) per year. There are also 48 associate memberships available for an annual fee of £19,700 ($27,000) and an unlimited number of “patronages” for the cost of £5,600 ($7,650) per year.

In 2017, the club broke its long-standing tradition of avoiding corporate sponsorship by signing a five-year €150 million ($180m) deal with Qatar Sports Investments prior to 2011-12 season. Qatar Foundation logo was on the club’s shirt for the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons.

Its logo was then replaced by Qatar Airways for the 2013–14 season in a deal allowing for a commercial sponsor logo to replace the charity logo, two years into the six-year deal. The deal with Qatar Airways was extended for one more year in 2016.

In 2017, the club signed the 5th most expensive shirt sponsorship deal in the history of European club football with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. The deal signed for until 2020-21 season is reportedly worth $232 million making Rakuten the club’s main sponsor.

Barcelona has also signed a lucrative kit sponsorship deal with Nike, which has remained Barcelona’s official kit sponsor since 1998.

PLAYER VALUE

In 2018 January transfer window, FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC reached an agreement for the transfer of Philippe Coutinho for the remainder of the season and five seasons ahead with Barcelona benefiting from a buyout clause of $ 481 million (€400 million). Coutinho reportedly stands to get $192 million (€160 million / ₹ 1,220crore) from the five-year deal. The contract makes the 25-year-old Brazilian midfielder the third most expensive deal in football history.

The clubs forward Ousmane Dembélé was transferred from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 with the fourth most expensive deal ever at $126 million whereas the Uruguayan star striker Luis Suarez was transferred from Liverpool in 2014 in a $99 million deal marking the club’s third most expensive and overall 11th most expensive in the history of club football transfers around the world.

Right now Barcelona is providing €419 million ($504 ) in salaries. According to the report of sports portal AS, this is the 73% spend of yearly budget of Barcelona.

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