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Barca: Beating Real on the pitch is only stage one...

Thu 20th May 2010 | Marketing & PR

Why F.C. Barcelona are taking the battle to the boardroom, and beating Real Madrid (and Manchester United, and Chelsea) all over again.

These are good times for F.C. Barcelona. The world’s favourite team* has just won Spain’s La Liga title, and an incredible six pieces of silverware from the last two seasons alone.

Fans and critics alike are lauding Pep Guardiola’s team as the best ever, with its breathtaking blend of sexy football, individual and team brilliance, and a hunger that is second to none.

But it’s not just on the pitch where Guardiola’s men are triumphant. Off the pitch, the Messi’s and Ineista’s of the corporate box are weaving their own quick-footed blend of business artistry: taking on the likes of Man United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich – and winning all over again.

In a rare interview with Lander Unzueta, Chief Marketing Officer, F.C. Barcelona: he reveals how he has been charged with making a reality of Barça’s strapline, ‘més que un club’ (more than a club).

Lander has plans to make this the most recognizable sporting brand on earth. And he’s not far off.

He believes the sports industry has evolved “too much” over the last ten years, and that it is indigestion, not starvation, that poses the biggest threat. Too many opportunities, too many sponsors, and players’ wages going through the roof. F.C. Barcelona have adapted well, with a strong and clear direction, and invested in strong assets.

“Stadium development has been key. A stadium is no longer a place where teams play, or athletes run, they are venues to hold big concerts and social, cultural activities,” says Lander. “This has been a big revenue growth for us. F.C. Barcelona is more than just a football club. It’s a theme park, we have an arena, several pitches and a stadium; we even have an ice hockey rink.”

What about the cult of the player? With obscene wages still being paid in a global recession, and players’ antics filling the tabloids, how can Lander – or anyone – protect a football club’s brand?

Lander believes passion is key – and to always keep an eye on the long-term goal: to become “more than a club around the world”. Unlike most clubs, Barça have no lucrative shirt sponsor. Instead, it spends US$2 million a year to have UNICEF’s logo grace the beloved shirt, believing this creates a culture of responsibility and obligation to those less fortunate.

With giants such as Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Real Madrid sure to up the stakes on the pitch next season, F.C. Barcelona’s clear identity and altruistic ideals hold the secret to its success.

“We are at the top, without using our jersey sponsor and without putting a sponsor’s name in writing on our stadium,” says Lander. Which means there’s plenty more money to come…

 

To see this interview in full, visit www.meettheboss.tv.

 

*According to a recent survey by www.sportundmarkt.de.

 

If you have any football business related news stories you’d like to share then please contact us – agourley@fcbusiness.co.uk or ryan@fcbusiness.co.uk

Don’t forget to subscribe to F.C. Business Magazine to keep up to date with the latest comment from the football world. Click here to subscribe

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