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SBD Global/August 18, 2014/Media

Barcelona's Massive Online Presence Responsible For $40M In Annual Revenue

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Barcelona "resists no social network," according to Jordi Quixano of EL PAIS. The club "is the leader in numbers and followers, as it has more than 72 million fans on Facebook, another 12 million on Twitter, nearly 10 million on Google+, 3.3 million on Instagram, 1.5 million on Youtube and 1.1 million on Sina Weibo." This "explosion has created a tremendous form of commercialization for the club, which has changed even its way of negotiating sponsorship contracts." Barcelona New Technologies Dir Didac Lee said, "Before, if we were going to sell to a Chinese sponsor, for example, we would have a discussion that was only reaching the recipient. But now we show the numbers, the millions of visitors that we have on our specialized websites and the echo on social media." It is "such that the club's business generated digitally" is approximately €30M ($40M), a figure that "includes not only licenses, but everything linked to the digital world (ticketing, E-Commerce, Museum, sponsorship licenses and content)." The club states, "It has meant 43% growth in the last three years." Lee: "My obsession, more than a digital department like most clubs use, was to completely digitize Barça." To do so, Lee "defines technology in three ways:" bringing the club to members, globalizing the brand and converting the Internet traffic into revenue. Barcelona believes that "everything will be more dynamic and useful with a new app called 'Aplicación Madre,' which will combine all the club's apps and be introduced later this year." For globalization, Barcelona "bets on adapting its web presence locally, on each of its nine websites." Lee said, "It is the GLOCAL concept, we think globally and act locally." For example, on Barcelona's Arab website, "the content features Barcelona fans observing Islamic holidays; the Chinese version features an interview with the world badminton champion -- who is 'Cule.'" The club's Indonesian site "has created the figure of an ambassador who is a celebrity in the country." Lee said, "This results in a following on social media. The traffic is seven million unique users per month. The new websites have doubled traffic in the last three years." This traffic "translates to new revenue." For example, "through digital licenses for new applications, video games, ticketing, selling shirts on the Internet in places where there are no points of sale, and above all, sponsorships through the Internet and social networks" (EL PAIS, 8/16).
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