FC Barcelona hails itself as “Més que un club” — More than a Club. Fittingly the Catalan giants will have more than a jersey thanks to a new sponsorship with Intel. The company is joining up as Barcelona’s new technology partner. Forbes reports the deal is for $25 million over five years. It will also include Intel’s name on the club’s famous red-and-blue shirt.
The new sponsorship is for the inside of the jersey, fitting in line with Intel’s “Look Inside” advertising campaign. Considering the club now features Lionel Messi and Neymar — two of the world’s top goal scorers — it’ll probably be money well spent given soccer players affinity for pulling up their jerseys after goals. Don’t be shocked if we see other big clubs follow suit, as they look to monetize in every conceivable way.
It is somewhat ironic, if not surprising, that Barcelona went down this route. The club famously held out and kept the front of its shirt free of branding until 2004 when it struck up a deal with UNICEF, which actually paid the charity close to $2 million a year instead of the other way around. In 2010, Barca signed a deal with the Qatar Foundation — another charity. This one, however, paid the club somewhere in the range of $200 million from 2010-2016, which the club said was to help pay off their massive debt.
Given the money that’s on the table — apparently now for parts of the jersey not even seen to fans in the stadium or viewers on television — how much longer are big-time American sports going to hold out?