Barca unveil unusual sponsorship deal
Barcelona’s players can reportedly decide for themselves whether to reveal the name of the club's new shirt sponsor Intel when celebrating a goal.
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Under the new and unusual sponsorship arrangement the company’s logo will be printed on the inside of player's jerseys -- and therefore will only be visible should a player lift his shirt for any reason, leading to some confusion about the thinking behind the deal.
The new shirts, modelled via video at Thursday's launch by first-team defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, come into use immediately -- starting at Saturday evening's La Liga game against Villarreal at the Camp Nou.
Deborah Conrad, Intel's chief marketing officer, told Reuters that there was no 'obligation' on Pique and Puyol, or Lionel Messi, Neymar or any other Barca player, to celebrate goals in any particular way.
"We did not want to put the players under any obligation to show the logo a specific number of times," Conrad said. "But we do know that such goal celebrations are a big part of the culture of the sport."
Shirt sponsorship is an emotive issue at Barca, which for years refused to accept any offers from potential sponsors, before partnering with UNICEF in 2006 and beginning the current tie up with Qatar Airways in 2011.
The Primera Division outfit have not revealed the value of the deal, which reportedly runs for four-and-a-half years and can then be extended, but Mundo Deportivo have reported a figure of 25 million euros.
Intel are also to provide technology to Blaugrana senior players, youth-teamers and coaches as part of the arrangement in order to "improve their research, training and performance via the most up-to-date technologies."
Barca president Sandro Rosell hailed the similarities between the technology giant and the football club while announcing the 'pioneering' partnership.
"It is a huge satisfaction for FC Barcelona to be able to join forces and share the values of innovation and team-work with a company of such worldwide prestige as Intel," Rosell said. "We are both trendsetters in our fields, and I am convinced that the collaboration that we are starting today will be very important.
"It will mean much more than a financial sponsorship deal, as it will also help us to become one of the most technologically advanced clubs in the world. Intel is at the heart of computing, it works from within, and that is why our agreement is so innovative and pioneering in the world of sports sponsorship."