Spanish LaLiga football club Barcelona has announced today (Tuesday) that its iconic Camp Nou stadium will have a naming-rights sponsor for the first time through an agreement with the Barça Foundation that is designed to raise funds to support the fight against COVID-19.

The club’s board of directors has approved the ceding of naming rights to the stadium to the foundation for the 2020-21 season. Over the next few weeks, the Barça Foundation will begin the process of finding a sponsor to acquire naming rights for the stadium for a year. Proceeds generated by the naming-rights deal will be put towards research projects and other initiatives involved in the fight against COVID-19, both locally and internationally.

The Camp Nou has never had a naming-rights sponsor before. The stadium’s capacity will be increased from 99,000 to around 105,000 as part of the club’s wide-ranging Espai Barça project.

In line with the Espai Barça project, Barcelona had planned on waiting until the 2023-24 season to sell naming rights for the stadium but this has been brought forward. Barcelona said the ceding of the rights for a season is compatible with the future commercial use of the title rights for Camp Nou to finance the Espai Barça project.

The club added that money brought in from the short-term sponsor would serve a “vital cause and one that benefits everyone”. The income generated will create a fund that will in part be reserved for a project on COVID-19 driven by the sponsor itself. The rest will be shared out among other related projects.

These projects will be selected by a management committee featuring club executives. The committee will manage the financing of the projects via the fund that will be created with the income from the sponsorship.

Any sponsorship agreement that is reached would have to be ratified by the Assembly of Members’ Representatives at the club. The ‘Camp Nou’ moniker will remain part of the new official name.

Jordi Cardoner, vice-president of Barcelona and the Barça Foundation, said: “We are very happy to be able to drive forward this initiative that offers something as emblematic as the name of our stadium, so that institutions, organisations and businesses may associate themselves with it and as such, contribute to the fight against COVID-19, given that their investment will be used to finance research projects on the illness and projects that are working to eradicate or lessen its effects.”

Image: Ayman.antar7