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Barcelona Keeps Mortgaging Its Future

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FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Monday that the club had sold a percentage of their Barca Studios production house, in his latest attempt to generate enough revenue in order to register their summer signings.

Laporta announced that Barcelona had sold 25 per cent of their Barca Studios arm to the blockchain-enabled fan token platform Socios.com, for €100 million.

Laporta added that he hoped that this sale would enable the club to register all of their summer signings. The Spanish club have signed Jules Kounde, Pablo Torre, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski this summer.

“We are doing everything they are asking in order to register them. I am assuming that they will not put any obstacles in our way. I hope that La Liga make the same interpretation as we do. If not, we will find a solution.”

He was later asked whether that confidence was founded on income from player sales or from the activation of a third economic lever. Laporta confirmed it was the latter.

“We have sold 25% of the television rights for Barcelona. And the sale of €100m for 25% of Barca Studios to Socios.com. We are doing our homework in order to register the players.”

Despite his optimism, Laporta did admit that he was uncertain whether Barcelona would be permitted to register their new signings under La Liga financial rules.

“I have the feeling that we are completing a task, despite the challenges,” he replied, when asking if the club’s third “economic lever” would enable them to register their new players.

“Interpreting the fair-play rules is not easy, and our rivals take advantage of the situation, saying this and that about Barca.”

He added: “I hope our interpretation is the same as La Liga’s, and they are not going to block the registering of players. If not, we will find a solution. We are working on the departures (of unwanted players) but it is not easy.”

Laporta has been busy mortgaging Barcelona’s future this summer in a attempt to stay competitive in La Liga, and also climb out of the financial pit that he inherited from Josep Maria Bartomeu.

At the start of the summer, he sold 10 per cent of their television rights for the next 25 years to Sixth Street, for a total capital gain of €267million.

Then last month he sold an additional 15 per cent to the same company, meaning in total Sixth Street have acquired a total of 25 per cent of the club’s TV rights deals until 2047.

Earlier this year, Laporta sold includes naming rights to the Nou Camp stadium to Spotify will appear, plus the streaming services name will appear on the club’s shirts and training kit.

According to various Spanish outlets, including Catalan radio station RAC1, the four-year deal is worth about €280 million, equating to €70 million per year, which seems below market value for a global brand like Barcelona, especially when the naming rights to the stadium is factored in.