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Struggling Barcelona sign 100-mn-euro digital deal

Barcelona (AFP) – Cash-strapped Spanish football club Barcelona have sold part of their media production unit “Barca Studios” for 100 million euros, the club announced on Friday.

Barcelona had to cut player wages and off-load their star Lionel Messi last year as the club face up to an economic crisis caused by loss of revenue due to Covid and mismanagement.

Barcelona described their new partner as someone with “a long history of producing content”. The deal complemented one signed with to expand their NFT operation, the club said.

Barcelona’s attempts to establish themselves once again as a force in La Liga and the Champions League have seen the heavily indebted Catalans sell off various shares in potential future earnings.

The club’s key asset is its massive fan base, and this latest deal for the sale of NFTs and derivatives makes for a quick fix.

Barcelona have spent 153 million euros on transfer fees alone to strengthen their squad, with Robert Lewandowski the most notable new arrival.

Faced with severe limits on spending in order to comply with La Liga’s financial controls, Barcelona knew they needed to raise money quickly to be able to invest in any signings and, crucially, to register any new players.

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  1. MarkB

    August 12, 2022 at 10:36 am

    Yeah, spending a buttload of $$$ you really don’t have is always a sound business practice. I hope it all blows up in their face. Their hubris , arrogance and that whole “Mes que un club” crap are nauseating.

  2. JP

    August 12, 2022 at 9:21 am

    So many deals to sell future revenue streams for cash now. Will they be in the same position next year, needing to sell additional percentages of these assets? It all seems unsustainable. Betting the new players and performance on the field leads to higher revenues from a deep UCL run will make it all ok. Akin to a gambler doubling down to offset what they already lost. This could get interesting, no wonder they’re still one of the clubs pushing for a Super League and the immediate cash windfall that was promised to them.

    • Mercator

      August 12, 2022 at 12:40 pm

      The issue is the La Liga rules. They ran into the same issue last year as well, it’s why Messi left and why they had to wait so long to register Depay. Barca is not short on money, they are just severely restricted by La Liga’s rules, which are also restricting several other smaller La Liga clubs.

      Barto was absolutely insane, but Laporta is not. They just need some creative accounting to meet the La Liga rule requirements. They already tried putting their own money into one of the earlier levers and La Liga saw through that. Now they are selling future media rights that they almost certainly have the right to buy back. The latest sale is to the Mediapro owner, the company that gave back the Ligue 1 rights after not paying last year.

      It’s also not really as risky as it seems because they are selling their OWN rights off. If Barca recover and the rights are worth more in the future, then the sale seems brilliant. If Barca tank and go full Leeds…well those future rights aren’t actually worth that much, they sold them at a premium today.

      You can see why Barca is still pushing for a super league though. Not making as much from the domestic league is one thing, but how can they compete with City, Chelsea, Liverpool etc if their own domestic league is kneecapping them in terms of spending.

      • MarkB

        August 12, 2022 at 1:12 pm

        Yep, rules can be pesky little thing, now can’t they?

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