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Volume 21 No. 1
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Barça rivals Rams with $30M asking price for naming rights

Naming rights for FC Barcelona’s renovated Camp Nou stadium complex are on the market with an asking price of around $30 million per year, which would be a record for a stadium.

Barça’s $650 million renovation of the 60-year-old facility, expected to be completed by 2022 or 2023, at the latest, will add 6,000 seats to what is already Europe’s largest soccer stadium, giving it a capacity of more than 105,000. Other scheduled stadium improvements include a partial roof and premium seating.

Unlike most projects, while construction outside the stadium is ongoing, inside Camp Nou play continues. Interior renovations are being done during the offseason.

The campus upgrade also will include a new version of the Palau Blaugrana arena, designed by HOK, along with additional planned commercial development including a hotel, skating rink, restaurants, bars, office space and new team offices. The complex already includes an FC Barcelona museum and store, and has long been a leading tourist destination in Barcelona, attracting millions of visitors annually, largely on non-game days.

The club’s $650 million renovation of Camp Nou stadium is set to be complete by 2023.
The naming-rights buyer gets the corporate nameplate on everything.

Barça, seeking a minimum 20-year deal, is being assisted by Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment on the sale. The previous high in Europe was Emirates’ 15-year, $180 million deal struck in 2004 that included both naming rights to the new home of Arsenal and a jersey sponsorship for the team — also engineered by Van Wagner’s Jeff Knapple.

One measure of global appeal of top Euro soccer teams: FC Barcelona has 52.1 million Instagram followers, while its superstar Lionel Messi has 79.9 million. The Dallas Cowboys have 2.4 million followers.

We note with interest that the $30 million annual price tag is around what the Los Angeles Rams and Legends are asking for naming rights at the $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood for the Rams and Chargers, which is scheduled to be finished in time for the 2020 season. Certainly the two offers will affect each other, not to mention the rivalry between two of the top third-party sales organizations in sports.

> PRODIGAL SON: Scott Carmichael’s Prodigy Sports recruitment firm in Freehold, N.J., has acquired Ascension Sports Partners, an Ohio-based boutique executive search firm headed by Dan Rossetti, former Turnkey Sports & Entertainment senior vice president who is now Prodigy’s president. Rossetti will report to Carmichael.

“We’ve got complementary businesses and personalities,” Carmichael said.

Ascension, whose client list includes the U.S. Tennis Association, Professional Bull Riders, International Speedway Corp., Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Richard Childress Racing, will remain in Mason, Ohio. The Ascension name will disappear. Both firms are around 10 years old.

> BIRDING: Renewed on the Philadelphia Eagles’ sponsorship roster are Nike (largely for social/digital activation); Essity, which will title a stadium club for its paper products brand; Dunkin’ Donuts; and Geico, according to Brian Napoli, Eagles vice president of corporate partnerships, who added that McDonald’s, Frito-Lay and Bob’s Discount Furniture renewed earlier.

New team sponsors in the fold include accounting firm Wipfli, PGW (Philadelphia Gas Works) and Just Born candy, leveraging the 100th anniversary of its Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews brand.

Terry Lefton can be reached at