Le FC Barcelona tient son nouveau sponsor maillot

Rakuten FC Barcelona

A partir de la saison 2017/18, le FC Barcelona aura un nouveau sponsor sur son maillot : la société Rakuten, Inc.

L’une des « saga » marketing de l’année prend fin puisque le club catalan était parti à la recherche d’un nouveau sponsor maillot depuis la fin annoncé du deal avec Qatar Airways en août 2013, deal evalué à un « petit » 30 millions d’euros par an.

On doit ce deal FCBarcelona/Rakuten à Gerard Piqué, le défenseur central du FC Barcelona, comme l’a confirmé Josep Maria Bartomeu, président du Barça dans le communiqué de presse du club : “Tout a commencé lors d’un dîner organisé par Gerard Piqué chez Hiroshi Mikitani, président et CEO de Rakuten Inc., à San Francisco”.

Pour info, Rakuten Ichiba est le plus grand site de commerce en ligne du Japon4 avec plus de 105 millions d’utilisateurs enregistrés et 44201 marchands. En plus de sa partie e-commerce, Rakuten a d’autres bras et activités commerciales comme le crédit et le paiement, avec des services personnels de crédit à la consommation (carte de crédit et prêts), un portail Internet avec le site Infoseek, une agence de voyages en ligne, la gestion de titres financiers, fournissant des services tels que le courtage de titres en ligne. Rakuten détient notamment en plus de tout ça (!) une équipe de baseball professionnelle, les Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Pour nous occidentaux, Rakuten est aussi la maison mère de l’application mobile Viber et du site d’e-commerce, PriceMinister.

Depuis la rencontre entre Gerard Piqué et Hiroshi Mikitani, les discussions entre les deux entités ont été fréquentes, jusqu’à cet accord qui va permettre au Barça de se placer parmi les clubs sportifs les mieux rémunérés de la planète : “L’accord s’étend sur 4 saisons, avec 55 milions d’euros par an, un bonus de 1,5 milion pour la Liga et de 5 milions pour la Ligue des Champions, a expliqué le Vice-Président du Secteur du Marketing et de la Communication Manel Arroyo, soit un montant global potentiel de 244,5 millions d’euros, soit 2.5 fois plus que le deal avec Qatar Airways. Il a ensuite affirmé : “Le Club se situe au même niveau que Manchester United”, jusqu’alors seul leader en ce qui concerne le sponsor du maillot.

Arroyo a tenu à présenter la société japonaise : Rakuten est une entreprise qui partage nos valeurs en matière d’innovation et d’ambition globale. Dans le même sens, le président Bartomeu a expliqué que “Rakuten est une société moderne, jeune et technologique, dans un secteur digital qu’elle veut développer”.

Arroyo, qui n’a pas fermé la porte à Qatar Airways pour un nouvel accord dans le futur, a salué la relation « loyale » avec la compagnie aérienne durant toutes ces années. Il a aussi révélé que le Club avait négocié avec cinq grands entreprises pour devenir le sponsor global du Club : Nous avons longtemps discutés avec cinq grandes sociétés et nous avons entretenu des contacts avec une douzaines de candidats. Ces relations sont toujours en cours et peuvent nous amener à collaborer dans le futur », a-t-il assuré.

Arroyo a tenu à souligner : “le sponsor sera surtout visible sur le maillot de l’équipe première. Mais il reste encore le maillot d’entraînement, celui des jeunes de la Masia et celui du Barça féminin”. De quoi laisser la place à d’autres gros deals encore pour le FC Barcelona de Neymar & Leo Messi.

L’accord entre Rakuten et le FC Barcelone se place dans la lignée de “la grande relation unissant la Catalogne et le Japon », selon Bartomeu. Mikitani a repris les propos du président del Club et a assuré que “la démocratie propre à la Catalogne est une valeur qui nous touche et je crois que c’est pour cette raison que le Barça est le Club européen le plus connu. C’est aussi ce qui nous a poussés à collaborer avec le Club catalan”. Enfin, Manel Arroyo a révélé que le FC Barcelone devrait participer à un match amical au Japon au cours des quatre prochaines années, et un second en option.

Avec ce nouveau contrat avec Rakuten, le FC Barcelona cimente sa place comme l’une des cash machine du football moderne. Passons juste en revue les marques apparaissant sur le maillot des Blaugrana :

  • Rakuten : 55-60 millions d’euros par an 
  • Nike : le contrat équipementier est évalué à plus de 80 millions d’euros par an 
  • Beko (qui passe sur la manche) : 10 millions d’euros par an 
  • Intel (à l’intérieur du maillot) : 5 millions d’euros par an
  • Unicef (c’est le FC Barcelona qui reverse de l’argent à l’ONG et non l’inverse) : -2 millions d’euros

Au total, le maillot de l’équipe première de football du FC Barcelona rapporte plus de 150 millions d’euros par an au club catalan. De quoi rassurer Josep Maria Bartomeu, président du club quant à la réussite et le bilan de son mandat à la tête des Blaugrana.

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