FC Barcelona’s troubles may be just beginning following termination of $35m Rakuten deal, says GlobalData

Following today’s news (Thursday 9 September) that Rakuten has cancelled its agreement with FC Barcelona one year early;

Conrad Wiacek, Head of Sport Analysis at GloblaData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“News that FC Barcelona and Rakuten are ending their partnership one year early will not only impact FC Barcelona’s finances in the short term, given its $1bn debt, but may also present serious questions regarding its global commercial footprint moving forward. Rakuten has felt its partnership objectives have not been met and this situation is unlikely to improve with Lionel Messi’s departure from the club.

“With LaLiga’s overall commercial profile diminishing with the loss of high-profile players such as Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, FC Barcelona is in uncharted territory, having been able to rely on the eyeballs that Messi would provide any potential partners. With the most iconic footballer of his generation no longer playing for the Catalan giants, its appeal to international partners will diminish, as Rakuten terminating its partnership early may indicate.

“Having downgraded its partnership from full front of shirt sponsor in a deal worth $65m a year to a partnership worth only $5m a year and now to full cancellation, one of the most iconic brands in sports will need new ways to reach fans in Asia.”

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