Barcelona sign four-year, €220-million sponsorship deal with Japanese internet retailer Rakuten

The club will earn an extra 1.5m for winning La Liga and 5m for each Champions League title

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 11:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 11:13pm

Barcelona have agreed a new four-year deal for their shirt sponsorship with Japanese internet retailer Rakuten worth 55 million (HK$459 million) a year excluding potential add-ons, the La Liga champions said on Wednesday.

Barcelona – once renowned for never having had a sponsor on their shirts – will earn an additional 1.5 million for each time they win La Liga and an additional 5 million for each time they win the Champions League.

The deal, which has an option to extend into a fifth season, will begin from the 2017-18 campaign.

Barcelona have also signed deals to feature the Turkish electronics brand Beko on shirtsleeves and US semiconductor company Intel on the inside of its shirts.

The Japanese company is replacing Qatar Airways, which has been sponsoring the Catalan club since 2013. Barcelona currently trail leader Real Madrid by two points in the Spanish league.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu said the deal puts the club “at the forefront of sports club sponsorships”, and will help the club “achieve its goal of being a reference point worldwide”.

Five-times Champions League winners and 24-times La Liga champions Barcelona took their first steps towards ending the sponsorship-free tradition in 2006 by bearing the logo of Unicef on their shirts while donating 1.5 million per year to the charity.

In December 2010, they agreed a five-year deal with the Qatar Foundation worth 30 million per year, at that time the most lucrative shirt sponsorship in football.

The Rakuten deal represents one of the largest for on-shirt advertising for a football club and is roughly the same amount English Premier League side Manchester United earn in their £47 million (HK$454 million)pounds-a-year contract with American car maker Chevrolet.

Barcelona are also set to outstrip United’s £75 million-a-year sportswear agreement with Adidas as they are reported to earn 155 million a season when its 10-year kit agreement with American sportswear giants Nike takes effect in 2018.