artversussport

This blog will be dedicated to the beautiful passions of life: Food, Film, Football (Barça), Philosophy, Literature, Art and Humanity.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Difficulty in changing a shirt

This week a deal came through where Barcelona got a reversed sponsor. Where the club gives Unicef 1.5 % of their income to and has their name on their shirts, where most club have a commercial sponsor.
A generous gesture, which can be analysed in many different ways.
A big club, can count on everything from 8 to almost 20 million pounds per year from having a companys logo at the front of their shirts.
When the current directors took over in 2003 the accounts were frightening and they asked for permission amongst its members to put sponsorship on the shirt.
Surprisingly very few major multinationals made an offer. Amongst the ones that got considered were Betandwin, Viagra and the famous negotiations with the Chinese government (promoting the Beijing Olympic games). The club and most people (including the directors) became to believe that it was all a done deal (the Chinese one).
This negotiation was one of Laporta's infamous lies (something he is regularly critisised for and perhaps one of the dark moments in his presidency).

The club worked hard to find a sponsor, but obviously it was a sensitive issue to be remembered as the president who brought a sponsor to the shirt. It was said that Betandwin got tired of waiting and went to Milan instead, or as the club claims that they simply refused the offer, as Barça was not a club to be associated with betting (perhaps in the future betting will not be a taboo).

In the late spring of 2006 it came to light that Barça were going to put something on its shirt and it was going to be Unicef. Most members seem quite proud of such an act, but some are in dignified that Laporta.com have not kept the promises, that this is not what the members allowed when the question of sponsorship came up. I think perhaps Laporta.com should have asked for permission (very unlikely they would have got a NO), but at the same time the club has completely turned around since 2003. The health of the economy is good, the club is winning titles, has players who seem committed to the cause and with a future (the main stars are Eto'o 25, Ronaldinho 26 and Messi 19). If the financial situation does not dictate bringing a sponsorship to its shirt, I believe it is not a negative thing to promote humanitarian causes. Perhaps they are expecting some kind of return, but one can't deny the value of this propaganda.

The directors claim it is not a marketing tool, but rather what image they want to project of themselves: a human club, which is involved in humanitarian causes, as that is what matters that the club helps to promote humanitarian causes.

The players are apparently very proud to be part of the deal and already some of the players are ambassadors for various foundations (Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Thuram).

Are Barça simply doing this in order to raise the value of their shirts for future sponsorships or perhaps it is pure a "good mannered" act. It is obvious that in a way, the other companies associated with Barcelona (ironically Nike, Coca-Cola and others) will benefit in being linked with Unicef, but perhaps one should not be that cynical and simply be proud of such an innovated means to promote a club, that stands for so many more things than simply a club. More than a Club.

For many years Barcelona have been symbolised with the slogan More Than A Club, traditionally it had rather been a local question of identity to the Catalans but with the democratisation of modern Spain it was almost like riding on tradition rather than being a modern club, within today's society.
The directors and the board investigated in what the slogan means today or rather what it could become to and found out that Barça meant amongst other things - one of the few clubs that is owned my its members, they play attractive football and one of the few clubs who does not have a sponsor. Going further it became clear and is very inventive way of putting new meaning to being More Than A Club. Something to distinguish oneself from other clubs, something children all over the world can associate with the club. To be a sponsor of Unicef, or More Than A Club.

Photos:
Unicef - El Periodico
Industria & Nike - El Mejicanito

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2 Comments:

Blogger Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...

How good is not Eto'o.
Thuram is also a wonderful addition to the squad. For everything.
I almost prefer Eto'o to Ronaldinho.
Will talk more about that later.

2:40 PM  
Blogger khalidmarrakchi said...

This is a Great Blog,I hope u can continue sharing your views about this great Sport that is football,,and about this Great Club that made and still making "Great Football" a reality and not just a dream !
Maybe we don't support the same team, but we support surely The Great Football!
I guess it's a great chance to see a big team sponsoring the good football and the poverty in the world !
I think sponsoring is just the problem of the clubs ,,not the players,,and we all remember the matches played last year by Zidane and Ronaldo "i hope we can see such matches this year",where we saw the football in the service of such great purpose!
fortunatly we can see such a nice thing every week in La Liga !
Greetings From Marrakesh,Morocco ;)

5:22 PM  

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