Spanish league champions Barcelona have agreed a world record £125million shirt sponsorship deal with the tiny Gulf state Qatar. In another huge coup for the country, who recently secured the 2022 world cup, Barcelona will now sport the Qatar Foundation logo, in the most expensive football sponsorship deal ever.
Barcelona have never had a shirt sponsor in over 100 years of rich history, and have paid the charity Unicef £1million a year for the last 5 years to have the Unicef logo on their shirts. Last season’s financial loss of £64.36million has left the club in dire need of an injection to their finances and Qatar’s bid to bring its brand to the football world was too good to turn down.
The deal has been struck with a non-profit organisation, the Qatar foundation, which is directly bankrolled by the Qatar state. The deal will see the foundations logo share space on the shirt with the Unicef logo, and keeps Barcelona’s ‘Mes Que Un Club’ (More than just a club) mantra by still supporting charities.
The previous largest shirt sponsorship deals saw Bayern Munich get paid £23million a year, and Manchester United and Real Madrid pick up £20 million a year. With UEFA keen to stop clubs spending more than they earn, this new deal will give Barcelona extra spending power in the next transfer windows.
This summer’s attempt to capture Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal ended with Barcelona’s £30million bid turned down as derisory, and Barcelona did not appear to have the financial muscle to increase their bid. Next summer could see a different Barcelona at the bidding table.