Barcelona have signed a 4-year sponsorship deal with Rakuten worth $58.7 Million per season with an option to extend for a 5th season. The deal begins before the 2017/18 campaign and includes additional bonuses of $1.6 million for winning La Liga and $5.3 million for winning the UEFA Champions League.
Unusual for a deal this big is that it only includes the senior team jersey. Barcelona’s VP of Marketing and Communications Manel Arroyo said, “The first team shirt is the most visible, but the training kit, the women’s shirt and that of the youth teams are all still open.”
The Japanese internet retailer replaces Qatar Airways on Barcelona’s jersey. The Middle Eastern based airline has been on Barca’s jersey since 2011 paying out $36 million per season. They were one of ‘5 big companies’ that was interested in the sponsorship placement. And while they did not land the deal, Barca has stressed their relationship is still ‘loyal.’
Gerard Piqué and his wife Shakira were instrumental in setting the deal in motion when they arranged a dinner between club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani during the club’s 2015 U.S. tour.
“It all started with a dinner organized by Gerard Piqué at [Rakuten Chairman and CEO] Hiroshi Mikitani’s house in San Francisco,” revealed Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu during Wednesday’s presentation at the he Auditori 1899 at Camp Nou.
Barcelona’s jersey also includes sponsorship logos fore Beko, Turkish electronics brand, on the sleeve and Intel on the inside of the jersey.
Barcelona was the last major European soccer club to sign a front-of-the-jersey sponsorship deal. They had no sponsor until signing a sponsorship agreement with charity UNICEF in 2006 and then from 2011/12 featuring the logos on Qatar Foundation and Qatar Airways.