La Liga soccer champions Barcelona have agreed a record-breaking deal with kit suppliers Nike.
The ten-year deal, which commences at the start of the 2018/19 season, will see the Catalan club make at least €155milllion (US$170million) per year. The extended apparel agreement eclipses the previous world record for an annual fee set by Premier League outfit Manchester United and German manufacturers Adidas, which was set at €835million (US$915million) over a ten-year period.
The Oregon-based manufacturer has been the five-time European champions’ kit supplier since 1998, when it replaced Italian brand Kappa. The long-term renewal with Nike was revealed at the club’s annual general assembly, where their members also ratified a one-year extension with Qatar Airways to continue as their front-of-shirt sponsor through to the end of the 2016-17 season.
Barcelona vice president Manuel Arroyo believes that the fee attached to the lucrative Nike deal "is a figure which puts us number one in the world for sponsorship in the sports industry".
The members also passed a budget of €695milliion (US$760million) for the 2016/17 season, with €392milion (US$429million) of that figure going towards sporting salaries. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted that the bulk of the salary budget will be spent on renewing contracts of star strikers Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Lionel Messi of Argentina.
"These strikers are spectacular,” said Bartomeu. “I believe that our principal objective is that they all stay here.Neymar has renewed and now we are trying to make sure that Suarez stays here for many years to come and then we will speak with Messi, of course. He is the catalyst, the one that makes everything else function."
Barcelona are currently second in Spanish soccer’s top tier, two points behind leaders and bitter rivals Real Madrid.