Rakuten replaces Qatar Airways as the Shirt Sponsor of FC Barcelona in $260 million sponsorship deal

This is clearly in a different league than some of the recent Forex Sports Sponsorships and brand ambassador-ships we’ve been reporting on the past while, which have become a very hot issue in the industry of late.

Japanese online e-commerce giant Rakuten Group has inked a four-year, nine figure deal to replace Qatar Airways as the main Shirt Sponsor of FC Barcelona. ‘Barca’ is home to some of the best known footballers in the world including Lionel Messi and Neymar, and one of the most followed clubs worldwide.

Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site, and also the parent company of Rakuten Securities, a leading Japanese Retail Forex dealer. Rakuten’s FX arm became better known outside Japan last year when the company bought both FXCM Japan and FXCM Hong Kong.

The sponsorship will see Rakuten pay €55 million a year, plus an additional €1.5 million each time Barca wins La Liga and an additional €5 million each time they win the Champions League. The deal has an option to extend into a fifth season, and will begin from the 2017-18 campaign. Excluding the fifth option year, the agreement has a potential total payout of €246 million, or more than USD $260 million.

FC Barcelona’s current shirt sponsor is Qatar Airways. The deal with Qatar was for a more modest (!!) €33.5 million per season. The Qatar agreement, which was for an original 3 years, actually expired at the end of last season leaving Barca with no shirt sponsor as this season began, until Barcelona and Qatar Airways agreed on a one year extension of the original deal.

FC Barcelona has had an FX sponsor before (although not a Shirt Sponsor), with IronFX being a former partner of the Catalan club.

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