Intel will become the Spanish champions’ official technology partner. The agreement will see the company provide the club with equipment and expertise to develop training and performance insight.
Deborah Conrad, Intel’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement that the deal, which is said by Forbes to be worth $25m (£15m) over five years, is “more than a sponsorship” and is designed to “to elevate FC Barcelona into one of the most technologically advanced football clubs in the world”.
The commercial opportunities of being associated with one of the world’s biggest clubs will not have been lost on Intel, however. The two are touting the fact the company’s logo will appear inside the shirt as “first” – a fact it is likely to advertise in marketing to exploit the association.
For Barcelona, it is the latest move to monetise their huge global appeal after decades of reluctance over fears commercial partnerships would sully the club’s provenance. The club signed their first corporate shirt sponsorship deal in their 113-year history with Qatar Airways in March. The deal, said to be worth £25m a season, ended a run of not-for-profits, the Qatar Foundation and Unicef, appearing on the front of the club’s shirts.
Despite not taking a traditional route to growing commercial revenue, the club was ranked the fourth most valuable football brand in the world by Brand Finance in May. The club, which was valued at £377m, trailed Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Real Madrid.