Qatar Airways could add a stadium naming rights element to its sponsorship of Spanish Liga football club Barcelona as both parties negotiate a possible extension to their current deal.
Barcelona is currently engaged in a five-year deal, from 2011-12 to 2015-16, with Qatar Sports Investment worth a total of €160m ($181.4m). Qatar Airways is currently the club’s shirt sponsor under the agreement.
Spanish sports newspaper Diario AS reports Barcelona is seeking to increase QSI’s commitment by €20m per season and Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Bakar suggested naming rights at the club’s iconic Camp Nou ground could be a means of adding value to the sponsorship.
“Everything is a possibility for our company, we’re open to surprises and one of these could be connected to the name of Camp Nou,” Al-Bakar said, while speaking at a promotional event. “Qatar Airways and Barcelona have the same values. It is possible that our name is added to Camp Nou.”
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu last month said that social and political issues in Qatar meant the club would rethink its prospective renewal with QSI. But club vice-president Javier Faus has countered such concerns and appeared to suggest a new deal is imminent. He said: “We need a new sponsor, we have zero problems with Qatar so it will be a quick decision.”
Reports in Diario AS last week suggested Barcelona’s rival Real Madrid could be set to rebrand its Santiago Bernabeu stadium as the ‘Abu Dhabi Bernabeu’ in relation to the club’s long-term strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi-owned energy group International Petroleum Investment Company.