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Debt-ridden Barça sell stadium name to manage debt

Posted March. 17, 2022 07:53,   

Updated March. 17, 2022 07:53


Would there be anything left for world famous Spanish Primera Liga FC Barcelona to sell? FC Barcelona, which are suffering from huge debt, have sold off its main stadium.

“Barça and Spotify seal a strategic long-term partnership in sports and entertainment,” said FC Barcelona on its website on Wednesday. Based on the new contract with Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, players will be wearing uniforms featuring Spotify for the next four seasons. Also, the name Camp Nou, the name of the Barca’s main stadium, will be used by Spotify going forward. Barça will receive up to 70 million euros (around 95 billion won) from Spotify for renaming the stadium as Spotify Camp Nou (photo). It is unknown, however, for how long Spotify will keep the name.

It is not common for sports clubs to sell their main stadiums. The first case was when American football team Buffalo Bills changed its main stadium name to the Rich Stadium in 1973. Since then, many stadiums by professional baseball, soccer and basketball teams have sold off their main stadiums to corporations for stable club operation.

Barça’s main stadium has never been renamed since its open in 1957, suggesting that the football club’s financial status has grown extremely fragile. The Spanish football team had to swallow their pride due to massive debt. In 2013, Barça attached commercial ads on its uniforms for the first time in the club’s history of 114 years. At that time, the cub signed a sponsorship contract with Qatar Airlines to receive 45 million U.S. dollars annually for four years. It had been a first for the club, which had not used commercial uniforms since its inception, based on the belief that they would give back to society through football. Though many football clubs used commercial uniforms to run their operations with more stability, Barça refused to do so. It sought to keep its heritage and pride. The club wore uniforms featuring ads for the first time in 2006, when it became the commercial ambassador for UNESCO. It was a public ad where 0.7% of the team’s profit was donated to UNESCO.

Lionel Messi’s exit from the club, who was like a symbol to the club, also came as a shock for Barça fans. Barça were unable to support Messi, who earned 168.8 billion won a year. Today, Barça no longer have pride to protect, Messi, or rights to the name of their main stadium. It can only rely on performance, but currently Barça ranks third in the Spanish league. It failed to enter the UEFA champion’s league and almost dropped out of the league of 16 at the Europa League. This is where FC Barcelona currently stands, going from soccer supremacy to financial distress.

Dong-Wook Kim creating@donga.com