FC Barcelona has sealed one of the world’s largest football shirt sponsorships after signing a deal worth at least €220m with Japanese retailer Rakuten.
The agreement was formalized today, Wednesday, in a ceremony held at the Auditorium 1899 in the presence of the President of FC Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu, Manel Arroyo, the Vice President responsible for Marketing and Media of FC Barcelona, and the Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani. The partnership agreement links the Club with Rakuten from the 2017/18 season until the 2020/21 season, with the option of a further one-year extension. As a result of this agreement, FC Barcelona will annually receive €55m plus title incentives for the duration of the four-year contract. This agreement will be ratified at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Club Members to be held in the near future.
Given their strong innovation credentials, Rakuten will be FCB’s first Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner. Rakuten will support the players and delight FC Barcelona fans and members with new initiatives showcasing the company’s technological prowess in messaging, drones, e-commerce, AI and much more. These initiatives will draw on Rakuten’s global resources. In Europe, the Japanese business is present in companies such as Viber, the mobile messaging and calling app; Wuaki, the video-streaming service established in Barcelona and now available in 12 countries; PriceMinister, one of France’s leading e-commerce sites; and Kobo, a global digital e-reading service now available in 12 European countries. Across the globe, Rakuten companies in Japan and the US include the Rakuten Ichiba e-commerce marketplace, the US-based shopping cashback service Ebates, and Overdrive, a distributor of eBooks to libraries. These brands will also provide invaluable support to the partnership.