Barcelona are severely in debt, so why are they still spending big?
This time last year, Barcelona were going through their worst financial crisis in their 123 year history, failing to even afford to keep their greatest ever player. Skip to today and they’re €100m deep into the transfer window and showing no signs of stopping, but what’s changed?
First things first, losing Messi’s contract definitely helped them make a start. The Argentine is earning €774k per week in Paris which works out at €40.5m per year. Those are some big numbers to get off the books. Messi wasn’t the only player Barcelona were quick to get rid of. The sales and releases of Phillipe Coutinho, Miralem Pjanic and Emerson Royal over the past 12 months, with Antoine Griezmann soon to join, frees up at least €100m worth of
dead salary. Samuel Umtiti took a drastic pay cut to stay at Barcelona and it seems as though Frenkie De Jong is set to follow suit in order to stay at the Catalan giants.
On top of their salary dumping, Barcelona recently signed a colossal four year partnership with Spotify, worth an estimated total €280m. This deal involves Spotify being on the front of the shirts and the renaming of the stadium to the ‘Spotify Camp Nou’. This is first time in Camp Nou history that the stadium has its own naming sponsor.
The five time Champions League winners also set up their own NFT (Non-Fungible Token) and cryptocurrency platform to let fans purchase virtual works of art linked to the clubs famous history.
The biggest deal of the lot came in early July 2022, when Barcelona sold 25% of their domestic TV rights to American company Sixth Street for a total €527m over 25 years. They’ll lose money in the long run but it helps them now to get out of the massive financial hole that former president Josep Bartomeu dug them into.
Barcelona are well underway with a rebuild since appointing Joan Laporta as club president last summer, with club legend Xavi taking charge, and La Masia products such as Ansu Fati, Gavi and Pedri starting week in, week out.
Free transfers such as Frank Kessie and Andreas Christensen are always welcomed additions but it doesn’t mean they can’t spend money like any other team, the big money signings such as Robert Lewandowski and Raphina shows the team still want to compete at the top levels and hope to earn a lot of the expenditures back through shirt sales and competition prizes.
There’s no doubt they’re still in a lot of debt, but so are most of the big clubs in the world. Manchester United are in an estimated €500m debt, not much less than where Barcelona currently stand. The COVID pandemic was a massive hit for Barcelona, but now with normal service resumed, the Catalan giants should be back to making enough each season to safely get by.