Barcelona in best economic position in history
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeou has claimed in an interview with the Financial Times weekend magazine that Barcelona are in the best economic position in their history. Annual revenues have tripled in a decade to €530m. Only Real Madrid does better with €604m.
Barca probably have the lowest average ticket prices of any of the top 15 clubs in Europe. However, after eschewing commercial shirt sponsorships for many years, it is now highly reliant on the €30m a year it gets from its Qatari shirt sponsor.
Bartomeu thinks tha Barca's revenues are going to keep soaring (he's hardly likely to say the opposite). The 150,000 socios (members) voted to renovate and expand the ageing Nou Camp from its 95,000 seats (already Europe's largest stadium) to 105,000 by 2021. Total projected costs are €600m, but it is expected to help the club reach revenues of €700m - €750m in four or five years.
The renovated stadium will carry a sponsor's name, yet another step in a more commercial direction. The club also has a global strategy (an area in which Real Madrid has excelled) and has recently opened a new office in New York.
The four page splash in the FT looks like a public relations coup, although it is a shame that the magazine has a picture of Ed Miliband trying to look like a Marks & Spencers manager on the cover. However, many fans are discontented about the loss of iconic players and the standard of play at the club.