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Intel’s giving Barcelona $25 million for a kit sponsorship you may never see

Dec 12, 2013, 11:00 PM EDT

Barcelona's Neymar is congratulated by team mates after scoring a goal against Real Madrid during their Spanish first division "Clasico" soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona Reuters

Four years ago, Madrid-based club Getafe struck up a sponsorship with Burger King that put the face of the fast food giant’s mascot on the inside of the teams’ shirts. In theory, when a player would score a goal, he could lift the bottom of the shirt over his head and reveal a smiling king, an innovation that ended up being more controversial than actually utilized.

Now, however, the innovation is coming back, only this time, it’s Barcelona that’s set to cash in on an under-shirt sponsorship. With players under no obligation to reveal the name, Intel is set to pay the Spanish champions $25 million over four years for the right to have their branding printed inside the jersey.

I kid you not. From Reuters’ reporting:

The idea behind the unusual positioning of the logo is that it will be revealed when a player lifts his shirt to celebrate a goal.

Barcelona’s players would be under no obligation to display the logo, which will be added to the shirts for the first time in Saturday’s La Liga home match against Villarreal …

Deborah Conrad, Intel’s chief marketing officer, said: “We did not want to put the players under any obligation to show the logo a specific number of times but we do know that such goal celebrations are a big part of the culture of the sport.”

And so the good old days (of three years ago) of Barcelona donating their jersey sponsorship to UNICEF drift further into the distance, memories of their social awareness and philanthropy run over by machinery commandeered by Sandro Rosell. Sure, it’s the same machinery you see at other clubs, but the efficacy with which Barcelona’s wielding their tools — the readiness they’ve shown to cede high ground in the name of financial largesse — is both disturbing and reassuring.

It’s always disappointing when the good relent, but in their willingness to embrace the cynicism of modern soccer finance, maybe Barcelona’s shown they were never that good to begin with? At least, they’re showing they weren’t any better than Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and all the other money sponges in the world’s game.

After all, it takes a particularly clever level of cynicism to sell the space inside a shirt, area most people will never see. Sure, Intel are also becoming a technology partner of Barcelona’s, but the immediate product lies under the shirt. To imagine that possibility, propose it, and accept its rewards requires a particularly active imagination, one that’s just pocketed Barcelona an additional $25 million.

  1. footballer4ever - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    “We did not want to put the players under any obligation to show the logo a specific number of times ”

    Ha! Yeah right! noone spends 25 million and not expect something valuable in return. It’s a shame Barcelona is selling their soul for the mighty dollar/euro.

    • bear06 - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:31 AM

      How are they selling their soul when almost all football teams do this? The Intel brand is just going to be printed inside the jersey.

    • squakdawg - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      how can a company sell its soul? i realize in the USA a company has many rights of a person, but i sincerely hope that Congress didn’t include a soul among those rights…could totally be wrong, but whatev.

      last i checked a company’s only obligation is to profit its shareholders. seems like this goes a long way to doing just that.

  2. footballer4ever - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    @bear06

    You are missing the main point, but that is okay. :)

    • bear06 - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      I think you’re the one missing the main point, but that’s okay.

  3. jcortes92257 - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Look at your computer, if it is a PC most probably has an Intel chip on it, and that little sticker reads ‘Intel inside’ I think the publicity is very smart and Barcelona is making money out of it.

  4. lostintransocean - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Intel should just put their logo on the yellow card.

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