Sources said that Barcelona acquired €140M ($159M) in loans from Prudential-owned Pricoa (€90M/$102M) and Barings (€50M/$57M), according to Dani Cordero of EL PAÍS. This "will provide breathing room for the club" if it needs to make player signings and "relief in the form of how Barcelona will be required to repay the money." It "worked in Barcelona's favor" that the U.S. investors view sports business as another form of investment and have experience with financing, for example, sports stadiums. The loans were provided without any auditors "rating the club." Barcelona "was not required to present guarantees" in case the repayment terms are not met. After five years, Barcelona will have to pay the sum, plus interest for the five-year period at a rate sources say will be 1.8%. Club execs, however, "claim the rate will be lower" (EL PAÍS, 2/12).
GROWING THE GAME: The BBC reported Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu said that La Liga should play three games outside of Spain a year. Plans to play Girona's home fixture against Barcelona last month in Miami were abandoned due to a "lack of consensus." Bartomeu: "At Barça we have sometimes been talking to La Liga and have been telling them that if you want to promote La Liga more and more, then we should have three games of the year outside -- one in America, one in the Middle East and one in Asia. ... Going to Miami would have been respect to our fans in the USA" (BBC, 2/12). La Liga CCO Joris Evers said of Bartomeu's comments, "Of course, we strongly support any club's international ambitions as we certainly share the vision of bringing La Liga action closer to fans everywhere and making La Liga a stronger international brand. We continue to work towards playing a La Liga match outside of Spain and want to do that as soon as possible" (La Liga).