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SportsBusiness: Decline in sponsorship, business & matchday incomes — all the losses for Barca as Messi leaves



On this edition of SportsBusiness, Ripples Nigeria’s Ben Ugbana takes a look at the biggest sports story of the moment – Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona and joining Paris Saint-Germain.

The move has been the talk of the football world since last Thursday when Barcelona officially announced that Messi would not be staying with them this season.

Messi’s exit has long been anticipated but only a few could have seen it happening in this manner, especially as the Argentine was no longer willing to part ways with his childhood club following last summer’s attempt to leave.

At the Catalan club, where he had spent 21 years of his 34 years so far on earth, Messi scored a record 672 goals in 778 games and won four Champions League titles.

The star forward, who has a record six Ballon d’Or awards as well as a total of 35 trophies to his name, told a press conference last Sunday that it was a difficult moment for him but that a new story would begin.

Messi was already a free agent as his contract had expired in June, and so Barcelona will be getting nothing as transfer fee from the depature of the world’s best footballer.

It gets even worse, as the club are set to lose significantly more money from their brand.

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Barcelona set to lose around 11% of the club’s brand value

Analysis from Brand Finance, a leading brand valuation company, outlined that Messi’s exit was set to knock a staggering €137million from the club’s value due to the loss of revenue and commercial income streams.

Barcelona had been analyzed to have a brand value that stood at €1,266million, meaning around 11% is now set to wipe out.

The report highlights that in addition to Messi’s exit having an adverse impact on future sponsorship income, business income and match day income, the loss of the player could also indirectly contribute to a decline in brand equity.

The losses are broken down into €77million from the club’s commercial income, along with an expected reduction of €17million for matchday income and on-field results, in addition to €43million in sales of shirts and merchandising.

Reports had said that the sales of Messi’s number 10 shirt have generated more than €200 million, of which the club received around 10 to 15 percent (said to be €30million), but €43million is the true cost of this aspect for the club due to their declining status with Nike.

Ripples Nigeria had in May 2021 reported how Barcelona came second in the ranking of world’s most valuable club brands in a Football 50 2021 report published by Brand Finance.

Barca, who were behind rivals Real Madrid and a spot above English side Manchester United in the ranking, are now set to decline to third position as a result of Messi’s departure.

Read Also: Messi agrees deal to sign for PSG after Barca exit

What are experts saying?

“Messi is synonymous with the Barcelona brand and he has been the club’s talisman since he burst onto the scene 15 years ago.

“His presence at the club has undoubtedly allowed the club to attract supporters, season tickets, top players, managers, business deals and winning trophies. His departure can cost the club a lot and cause a painful decline in brand equity,” said Teresa de Lemus of Brand Finance.

Meanwhile, Messi, on Tuesday, already agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year deal, with the possibility of staying an extra year at the French capital.

“Clearly what PSG’s ownership want is a team that is in the Champions League final every year.

“With Messi you have an advantage. Pochettino being in charge and his contract being renewed as well means they have an idea how to do that and Messi will complement that.

“They will win the league, that’s almost a given now, even though they lost last season. It will be a less competitive league which means he will be fresh of course, or should be, for the Champions League campaign,” said BBC Sport columnist Guillem Balague.

What next for Lionel Messi?

Messi will be hoping to win another Champions League title with his new club, Paris Saint-Germain – a dream he had wanted to achieve with Barcelona had the contract talks with the club happened as planned.

The star forward, who won his first Copa America with Argentina last month, will now be playing alongside teammate Angel di Maria and former Barca teammate, Neymar, as well as Kylian Mbappe.

PSG failed to win the Ligue 1 title last season, but have already begun their campaign for a better season. They face Racing Strasbourg in matchday two this Saturday.

And Messi is likely to make his debut for PSG in the game.

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