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Why Barcelona is risking everything to be runner-up in the Spanish League

Why Barcelona is risking everything to be runner-up in the Spanish League

Barcelona is not going through a good moment and the semi-empty Camp Nou reflects it
Barcelona is not going through a good moment and the semi-empty Camp Nou reflects it

There are two dates left in the Spanish League and today the Barcelona Soccer Club occupies the second position, which assured him to participate in the group stage of the next UEFA Champions League, to which the first four of the tournament have access. However, the Catalans bet everything on the runner-up, because it implies a profit much higher than that of third place in the table.

Barcelona, ​​which is going through a huge economic crisis, and in fact it is the club with the worst balance of the forty-two that participate in the first two Spanish professional championships, could obtain up to around 118 million euros if it achieves the runner-up, according to the prizes stipulated for that place, and for the rights that are paid according to that status.

The fact of being second and not third (place that Atlético Madrid now occupies with five points when there are still six to play for and Barcelona have Getafe and Villarreal as rivals) would mean entering among the four participants in the next edition of the Spanish Super Cup January 2023 with the new format agreed by his still player Gerard Piqué (leading the negotiations from his event organizer company “Kosmos”) and the president of the Spanish Federation, Luis Rubiales (the first two of La Liga and the two finalists of the Copa del Rey play).

Participation in the Spanish Super Cup implies receiving 8 million euros (a figure only stipulated in the event that Barcelona and Real Madrid play in the tournament), which could be 12 in the event of reaching the title, to which another 52.5 million euros of television rights must be added, 18 million euros distributed among the Spanish teams that are part of the group stage of the 2022/23 Champions League (of which it is perceived differently according to the position it occupied in the League), and 49.75 million for their own participation in the tournament, which can be increased from moving to subsequent rounds.

To these 118 million must be added the 595 million that he already received from the bank “Goldman Sachs” as a loan to be paid in ten years and the 225 million about to enter the club for a sponsorship agreement with the company “Spotify”, which totals 820 million for these items. In this way, between its sports participations and sponsors, Barcelona could invoice 937.80 million euros, without taking into account the ticket sales for the matches that he officiates at home and when there are still more sponsorships and participations to sell.

After beating Betis 2-1 as a visitor, Barcelona assured to participate in the group stage of the next UEFA Champions League
After beating Betis 2-1 as a visitor, Barcelona assured to participate in the group stage of the next UEFA Champions League

When Joan Laporta won the 2021 elections and took possession of the presidency, he found himself in a more than worrying situation, to the point that Ferran Reverter, former CEO of the club, even said that if it had been a public limited company, it would have been in a situation of dissolution a long time ago, and there are not a few who believe that if it continues down this path, it will end up in the hands of private capital and in fact, the bank “Goldman Sachs” already has an agreement so that in the event that the situation gets out of control and Barcelona cannot return the borrowed funds, an official of yours may have control of the numbers to find a way out.

Today Barcelona, ​​which will seek to renew itself in the next European summer transfer market to close the gap with its main Spanish and European competitors, It is the only club of the 42 professionals in the Spanish leagues between First and Second, which has a negative salary limit (-144 million euros), when Real Madrid is the club with the most balance to spend (739 million).

In any case, Barcelona will be able to hire players in the next market because each club has a salary cap according to different variables, although what determines the most is the income situation. The Seville, fourth in the League, has the second highest cap (200 million), while the Atletico Madrid, third in the League, it is fourth in the caps (170 million). Regarding Barcelona, ​​the First Club with the worst limit is Levante with 32 million euros.

The journalist Sergi Escudero, a student of Barcelona’s economy, says that in the 2018/19 season, the club managed a budget of 990 million euros, far from today, but at the same time the wage bill skyrocketed , to which was added the pandemic that forced the Camp Nou to close for more than a year, leaving the debt in the 1136 million for the 2020/21 season.

It is that between 2015 and 2021, Barcelona spent 1.1 billion euros in contracts, ranking third in the world ranking in that period, only behind Manchester City and Juventus, according to data from the specialized website “Transfermarkt”. In that same cycle, Real Madrid spent 674 million and Bayern Munich, 502.

Antoine Griezmann, one of the players for whom Barcelona paid the most in recent years
Antoine Griezmann, one of the players for whom Barcelona paid the most in recent years

Of course, the issue is not only how much Barcelona spent but on whom, because for example they paid 41 million for the Turkish Burn Turan and more than 100 per Ousmane Dembélé, Philippe Coutinho or Antoine Griezmann. It is also true that in that same time, Barcelona sold for 703 million, 200 more than Real Madrid or 450 more than Bayern, so the balance was left with a balance of 397 million, when Real Madrid had 170 million left. Much of the difference in favor of the club from the Spanish capital was due to the care in the wage bill. “Florentino knew how to keep Cristiano’s money, and Bartomeu wasted Neymar’s,” say several Barca sources.

In short, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, with austere policies, are the only major European clubs that avoided red numbers during the pandemic. Real Madrid budgeted 695.53 million euros for the current season considering that only the quarterfinals of the Champions League would be reached, that is, 28 million that were not foreseen were already guaranteed, as prizes, plus the sale of tickets at the Bernabeu semifinals and the final. Almost 40 million more.

PSG, on the other hand, has lost 352 millionIt is between the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons that Qatar had to inject 171 million more in what is called in the jargon “financial doping”, the aid of States to associated clubs. In the last five years, accumulated losses of 1760 million.

Chelsea, For its part, it has had red numbers since 2014/15 of more than 250 million euros, but it cannot blame the pandemic but rather that expenses exceed income. On the other hand the Manchester City suffered losses of 125 million, although only due to Covid.

Since coming to power, Laporta managed to refinance the club’s debt and reduce the wage bill by 200 million euros, largely with the departure of Leo Messi to PSG, while Gerard Hammered, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were some of the players who accepted reductions of wages. The problem is that once the wage bill was finally lowered, income was also reduced to 631 million, although the prospect is for improvement since the Camp Nou Johan Cruyff and Palau stadiums were opened, which allow receiving public that pay the tickets, although the closing of the agreements with the different new sponsors is still in the debit.

Gerard Hammered, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were some of the players who accepted reductions of wages.
Gerard Hammered, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were some of the players who accepted reductions of wages.

The partners approved in a recent controversial meeting the sale of 49 percent of “Barça Studios”, one of the companies created in the club, as well as the money from the CVC investment fund, which reached an agreement with the League to acquire the TV rights for many years, but it will only be accepted if it becomes capital and not debt. There is also an intention to sell 49 percent of another of the companies that the club set up, “BLM” (Barça, Licensing & Merchandising), but for now no bidders have appeared. There are already those who argue that by keeping the club with 51 percent of each of these companies, in a certain way privatization begins in some areas although the club continues to boast of being one of the only four First Division that are not SA (along with with Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna).

If in 2019 Barcelona had 42 sponsors, that seems a long way off at the moment. today it’s 29 and it is already known that after June 30, when this season ends, “Rakuten” and “Beko” announced that they will not continue, while “Stanley” also ends on the same date and for the moment said that it will not continue sponsoring the shirt of the women’s soccer team, although it could continue as a global sponsor.

There is some discontent, in this situation, with the director of the New Income department, Álex Barbany, who had arrived at the hands of Laporta after having worked with him on his electoral campaign “Estimem al Barça” (“We want Barcelona”). It is considered that if he is still in his position it is because he is handling the case of a mega deal with “Spotify” that could leave a fortune (225 million for three years for the naming of the Camp Nou, sponsorships on the shirts of the men’s and women’s soccer teams and training clothes).

As for the prize income, in Barcelona they are very clear that in this League it is not the same to be runner-up than third. Coming out second means having 20 million euros more, for the 8 million that would enter for the Spanish Super Cup in January 2023 (which could be 12 if it wins the title), the 52.5 million TV rights of the League ( against 45.5 if it came out third and 38.5 if it came out fourth), due to the fixed distribution (50% equal for all and variable, 25% of the total and 25% by corporate mass) and the classifications are also weighted in the last five leagues, although with a higher percentage in the current one (35%), the next (20) and the last three (15% each).

As for the Champions League 2022/23, to which Barcelona is already qualified, the club will receive 18 million from UEFA corresponding to the so-called “Market Pool”, and where, again, it is not the same to finish second as third in the League, because the distribution for the Spanish clubs specifies 40 percent of the cake for the first (in this case, Real Madrid), 30 percent for the second, 20 percent for the third and 10 percent for the fourth.

At this point, the last data that is publicly known corresponds to the 2019/20 Champions League and Spain received 20.47 million for the first of the previous League; 17.45 million to the second; 12.75 for the third, and 9.73 for the fourth, so it follows that if the figures remain even, Barcelona would be collecting around 18 million, while it has 49.75 million insured for participating in the group stage (15.64 for playing in the league and 34.11 for being third in the historical UEFA ranking behind Real Madrid and Bayern). To all this, more money could be added if the team advances in the tournament, both in prize money and in ticket sales.

For Espai Barca they need a credit of 1500M (for now it is not). Only Camp Nou will cost 900: Meetings and events 15%, Hospitality 24%, sponsorship and naming rights 24%, Museum and visits 15%, Ticketing and restaurants 22%. 200 M per year that are generated directly from Epai. The idea is that of these 200 from 2026, a third will go to the repayment of the debt and the rest, to the coffers.

The Espai Barca would be complemented by the investment of 420 M in the New Palau (including the ice rink and bus station), 100 to build the Barca Campus and urbanize the surroundings, 60 for the General Metropolitan Plan and 20 for the Johan Cruyff.


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