Barcelona tipped to promote UN agency on shirts

UEFA Champions League winners FC Barcelona are set to promote UNICEF on their shirts next season. A club spokesman quoted by Soccer Investor (6 July 2006) said discussions with the United Nations children's agency are "very advanced" and the Barca’s board aimed to settle a deal "within a few weeks" in order to be able to announce the deal on the pre-season tour to the USA. Barca's president Joan Laparto recently ruled out commercial sponsorship on the shirts in favor of a humanitarian message. The agreement on shirt sponsorship would form part of a larger one comprising "various strategies and forms of collaboration to unify the two brands," Xavier Cambra told El Mundo Deportivo (5 July 2006).

The Catalan club is the only major European team not to have a shirt sponsorship deal in place. In the past they were close to striking deals with the Chinese authorities to advertise the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Austrian online betting company BetandWin, but neither deal was finalised.

The Catalan club is also set to announce a profit of around €15 million for the 2005-06 season, meeting its budgetary target for the campaign. The board will announce the results officially in August after they have been audited, according to Spanish media reports.The club is expected to bring in revenues of around €300 million for the 2006-07 season, a substantial increase on the 2005-06 season due mainly to the start of a new TV rights contract. An offer from the Mediapro agency will give the club a minimum of €125 million a year from its television rights from next season, an offer that its existing broadcast partner Televisi√≥ de Catalunya can still match. The deal means that in five years the club has moved from an annual budget of €170 million and a loss of €60 million (for the 2002-03 season) to a budget of at least €280 million for 2006-07.

See also: Barcelona turns down Asian sponsor for its shirt (7 Oct 05)