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When It Comes to Sponsorship Dollars, Even Barca Blinks; Plus, a Barcelona Bleg

Not long ago, we made a Freakonomics Radio podcast asking whether the NFL might someday sell ad space on its jersey fronts, as soccer teams around the world already do. In European soccer in particular, the revenue can be substantial:

A new Sport+Markt report shows that, despite the recession, the English Premier League (which itself has a sponsor, Barclays) has just set a record by bringing in $178 million this year for its 20 clubs, overtaking Germany’s Bundesliga. According to Sport+Markt, the 10 European soccer clubs this year average more than $23 million each for jersey sponsorship. (The revered F.C. Barcelona, meanwhile, sports a UNICEF logo on its jerseys, but it actually makes a donation to the group rather than taking any payment.)

But Barca, despite its sterling on-field performance, has run into big budget trouble. So what happens? Out with the Unicef donation, in with a reported $30 million (US$40 million)-per year deal with the Qatar Foundation.
Former Barca manager Johan Cruyff, for one, does not approve:

According to, Cruyff, in his weekly column in El Periodico de Catalunya, said the deal was unnecessary and goes against the history of the strip. “We are a unique club in the world, no one has kept their jersey intact throughout their history, yet have remained as competitive as they come,” he is quoted as saying.
“We have sold this uniqueness for about 6pc of our budget. I understand that we are currently losing more than we are earning. However, by selling the shirt it shows me that we are not being creative, and that we have become vulgar.
“If things are so bad, then we should cut out the deal we have with Unicef, and all the values it represents, because we pay them to carry the logo on our shirts.”

Dear NFL: are you paying attention?
Separately: my family and I are soon heading to Barcelona for the holiday, and are boundlessly excited. But I have never been and would appreciate any good tips as to places to see, eat, etc., especially with children (10 and 8 years old). Also, we need someplace to watch an American football game, as the Steelers will be?trying to avoid Jets’ coaches’ knees playing the Jets while we are there. Muchas gracias!