Millions of people around the world are fans of FC Barcelona, Barcelona Football Club, or Barça. Messi is one of the best players in the world for many year… Matches, players, and goals are what we see on screens… However, there is a whole organization operating behind the scenes, and that is our focus in this article.
As mentioned in the previous articles, football means business, which is called the Football Industry. Beside the football team, an equally important business team works away from the lights to increase the club revenues. Students in Business schools learn case studies related to football. There is even a specific MBA certificate for the football industry called The Football Industries MBA (FIMBA).
In this article we will talk about:
- History of Barcelona FC
- Different sports of the club
- Value & Revenues
- Club Message
History in Brief
FC Barcelona, founded in 1899 by a group of young foreigners living in Barcelona, was the result of the increasing popularity of football, and other British sports, across Europe.
Start was by Hans Gamper who arrived from Switzerland to Barcelona in 1898 for professional reasons. During his free time, he played football with a group of friends in Bonanova (a district in Barcelona).
In October 1899, Gamper placed an advert in a magazine to find players interested in forming a football team. On 29 November, Gamper and eleven other men formed Futbol Club Barcelona. In 1900, the club had its first trophy “Copa Macaya”, which was a competition between Catalan teams.
Gamper aimed to create an organization that was open to everyone, regardless of their origin. He envisaged a club that served as a means of social integration, in which everyone could speak their mind, and he created a democratic society that was freely governed by its members.
In the beginning, FC Barcelona decided to use the same badge as the city of Barcelona. Then, in 1910, the Club had its own badge that survived until the present day, with few modifications.
Also, in the beginning, there was no permanent playground. That was until 1909 when FC Barcelona got its first ground “Camp de la Indústria” (capacity of 6000). In 1922, it was replaced by “Camp de Les Corts” (capacity of 60,000). Then, 1957, FC Barcelona moved to the famous “Camp Nou”, which is the current home for the club, with a capacity of around 100,000.
The following map shows the location of Camp Nou using satellite imagery. Feel free to zoom-in to see the details of the city & playground from air.
FC Barcelona is not only for football. The club has five professional sports: Football, Basektball, Handball, Futsal, and Roller Hockey.
According to Forbes, FC Barcelona is ranked the second among the most Valuable Soccer Teams in 2019 with a value of $4.021 B, after Real Madrid, which is ranked the first with a value of $4.239 B. An interesting note is that all the 20 teams in the list below are in Europe.
In the season of 2018/19 FC Barcelona achieved a turnover of €990 million, 8% up on €914 million in the previous year (increase of +€76 million) and an increase of 3% above the budgeted figure of €960 million. There are multiple activities running in the back-end to achieve these figures.
In this section, we will highlight the main activities of the club from business perspective.
Tickets are one of the main sources of revenues. In the season of 2018/19, revenues from tickets reached €73.74 million. There are a range of entertainment activities at Camp Nou before match kick-off such as drum beats, stilt walkers, face painting, flags being handed out, and a funny cam inside the stadium to take the Barça experience to the next level and help fill the stadium on match days.
There is a team working on organizing these activities in order to take the Barça experience to the next level and help fill the stadium on match days. Accordingly, achieving higher revenues.
Camp Nou has VIP zones, which provide a luxurious match-day experience, with catering service for premium rates. B2B team in FC Barcelona is handling the promotion of VIP to organizations. According to the club, more than 250 companies brought over 35,000 guests to the Stadium in season 2018/19, which turned the season’s Hospitality invitations into a benchmark relational marketing tool in the sports sector.
There are different VIP packages:
- VIP Sky Boxes
- VIP Players Zone
- VIP Balcony
- VIP Panoramic
You can find more images and details here.
In season 2018/19 Revenues from Hospitality reached €22 million, up 16% on 2017/18.
Camp Nou Tours
Away from matches, the club organize tours to Camp Nou tours. There are multiple classes of tours with different prices. The highest one allows you to have a tour in the stadium with official guide, visit the FC Barcelona changing room, sit in the press room, and take personalized photos of the visit.
FC Barcelona Museum
FC Barcelon Museum attracts 1.2 million visitors per year. Tickets to visit Camp Nou include visiting the museum as well by the same ticket.
FC Barcelona museum was inaugurated on 24 September 1984. Then it was reopened again on 15 June 2010 after restructuring. Currently, it has three sections. First section includes a collection of photos, documents and trophies detailing the club’s history on an interactive glass wall, allowing visitors to touch the screens and see information wall. Second section is a private art collection museum which exhibits works by local artists such as Dalí, Miró and Tàpies. Third section displays football memorabilia and a trophy-room.
FC Barcelona has an Innovation Hub with the following activities:
- Scientific research projects
- Innovation focused on joint development of products and services
- On-line training for professional development, and regulated training with Masters and postgraduate qualifications
- Organization of congresses and conferences
This is based on cooperation between the club and universities & research centers, start-ups & consolidated companies, investors, sports organizations, professionals, and sponsors.
The innovation hub provides many study programs with certificates. There are also Masters Programs in sports management.
Sponsorship is a main source for revenues. Football clubs build strategic partnerships with famous corporates such as Airlines, Financial Services, Telecom operators, and others. A team handles the communications and negotiations with these corporates to reach the best sponsorship contract.
That is a win-win deal. Football clubs generate revenues the sponsorship packages paid by the corporates. For the corporates, that represent a remarkable marketing and advertising activity for their brand.
FC Barcelona has 40 sponsors from different fields.
Another source of revenues is selling multiple FC Barcelona brand items with club logo. That includes Fashion (for men, women & Children), and other accessories such as scarves, balls, bottles, stationery, and other. You can check the online store here.
As the world is facing COVID-19 pandemic, you can also buy FC Barcelona branded masks.
There around 50 schools around the world for boys and girls between 6 and 18 years old. Its main objective is to provide a comprehensive training environment for the new generations.
Fans can subscribe to Barça TV for watching Series & Documentaries, Match Replays & Highlights, Livestreams, and Exclusive Players Content.
Barça Foundation is a part of FC Barcelona that serves the community. Their focus is on children with a slogan “No child offside”. They have programs to prevent violence, social inclusion, and education. Barça Foundation expanded its work to 58 countries around the world. The club donate 0.7% of their earnings to the Foundation, and the players donate 0.5% of their salary.
Generally, FC Barcelona has more than 1500 employees. Many teams are doing supportive activities for the Barça business.
- Marketing team who is responsible for multiple campaigns to promote Barça brand.
- There is Barça Magazine, a club magazine which is paper based magazine that is availed online as well
- IT team is taking care of website, mobile applications & booking systems. There is also Barça Magazine, an application for Club members allowing them to read the club Magazine in digital format. Additionally, there is Transport app, an application that enables the Club to instantly and conveniently communicate with members who travel with the Club. The app sends logistic messages such as travel itineraries, delays, warnings, etc.
- Travel team is in charge of selecting, negotiating with and contracting suppliers and deciding on travel arrangements. It is also their task to take care of logistics and ad hoc assistance.
- Construction team handles multiple projects of construction & renovation for club facilities
- Sports Science department includes a Medical Service, a Performance and Physical Training Area, and an Area dedicated to Technology and Analysis Applied to Sport.
- Meetings & Events team has become a significant source of income. In the 2018/19 season, FC Barcelona held over 400 events, some for commercial and sponsorship purposes and others internally.
FC Barcelona Message
I would like to close the article with parts of the club message as they state it their website:
We are more than a team of great stars,
we are more than a stadium full of dreams,
we are more than the goals we’ve scored and more than the trophies that we’ve won throughout our history.
At Barça we are:
More than a club because its made up of the MORE THAN 144,000 MEMBERS that make the big decisions democratically.
More than a club because when we play we want to win, but without neglecting our OWN STYLE.
More than a club because we are more than just football: we invest in 5 PROFESSIONAL SPORTS and promote WOMEN’S SPORT.
More than a club because we are a SCHOOL FOR LIFE that educates people through sport.
More than a club because we feel that such VALUES as humility, ambition, effort, teamwork and respect are just as important a part of the way we play as winning.
More than a club because without forgetting our roots in BARCELONA and our Catalan identity and culture, we have always been open to the world.
More than a club because we are firmly committed to SOCIAL CHANGE. We believe in the power of sport to change.
More than a club because we work with the finest professionals and experts in the world of sport , generating knowledge that we share in order to set new standards in SPORTING KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION.
That’s why we are more than a club, because we spend every day working hard to be the best and to make the world into a better place, by not only imagining a more prosperous future, but by really making it happen.
A writer & GIS consultant … Studied the Management of Technology … dreaming of a better world.