For the first time in its 63-year existence, Barcelona’s stadium will have a formal name after the club announced plans to sell next season’s title rights and hand the proceeds to charitable activities and the fight against coronavirus.
The Camp Nou, which means the new ground, became the de facto name of Barça’s home after it was inaugurated in 1957, later rubber-stamped in a members’ referendum. Now it will get a “surname” as the club seeks a sponsor for 2020-21 – a first step towards the sale of the naming rights as construction begins on a new 105,000-capacity stadium which they hope to have completed on the same site in the next four years. The current Camp Nou is Europe’s largest football stadium.
Barcelona announced on Tuesday that they would cede the title rights to the club’s charitable foundation, which would manage the process. They hope to find a sponsor in the coming weeks and plan for part of the money raised to go towards charities involved in the investigation of Covid-19. Other charities, chosen by the sponsor and the foundation, would also benefit. The deal will last for a year, after which the search for a permanent title holder would continue. Barcelona’s stadium has never had a title, still less a commercial one.
This move is reminiscent of Barcelona’s decision to name Unicef as its first ever shirt “sponsor” in 2006. Rather than being paid, Barcelona contributed €1.6m a year to carry Unicef’s name, serving as a soft launch for commercial sponsors thereafter, beginning with the Qatar foundation and then Qatar Airways.