Barcelona have publicly announced they will have an additional shirt sponsor for the new season after agreeing a deal with Beko.
The club confirmed via a statement on their official website:
FC Barcelona and Beko announced today the signing of a new agreement which will see the global home appliance group become the Club’s worldwide sponsorship partner for the next four years. The deal will see Beko’s new logo, also unveiled today, featured on the sleeve of the new team jersey and training kit—a first for any commercial brand.
The club also announced the deal via their official Twitter account:
Beko will have their logo displayed on the sleeve of Barcelona's shirt in what could be the start of a new trend for football clubs as they look to exploit all their potential revenue streams.
The goods manufacturer will be Barcelona's third major sponsorship partner alongside the current deals running with Qatar Airways and Nike.
AS.com tweeted a picture of the new-look shirt:
Turkish based white goods manufacturer Beko have snapped up the vacant slot on Barça's shirt sleeve. pic.twitter.com/Q3r73Hkxhb— AS English (@English_AS) June 30, 2014
Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke enthusiastically about the new partnership with the Turkish company, per the club's website.
He stated that the Catalan giants have an estimated 10 million fans in Turkey and are the country's most popular team. Bartomeu added:
FC Barcelona are proud to have you as part of the Barca family. Beko have previously worked in sport, particularly basketball, and they have now put their trust in Barca and we have out our trust in Beko.
We will be beginning a new journey together, which I am sure will bring us both great satisfaction. It is a shared journey based on commonly held ideas and shared values such as thoroughness, exactitude ambition, teamwork, innovation, a global vocation and passion for what we do.
The move to populate the shirt with sponsors is something Barcelona previously refused to do. The shirt was considered sacred by many linked to the club, and it was believed that Barca would always maintain this tradition.
The decision to sponsor both the front and sleeves of the shirt will now surely open the door for every team in Europe to follow suit. This indeed could well become a groundbreaking sponsorship deal.
But football writer Miguel Delaney spoke his mind about the new deal on Twitter, inferring that Barca's unique brand could be compromised by such initiatives:
Barca's home shirt is going to look like a cycling shirt soon enough. The colours indistinguishable from the brands.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 30, 2014
In many ways, such an iconic shirt like Barcelona's to be covered in branding is a crying shame. However, with everything, from stadiums being renamed to player-endorsed products, this is the state of play in the financial game, for football.
Undoubtedly this will now be the tipping point for shirt sponsorship as Barcelona's rivals all attempt to equal this move and better it. With clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United selling millions of shirts worldwide, the price of a sleeve in future could be a valued commodity to every football club.