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Barcelona may have bolstered their squad with the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, but they have done so amid unprecedented economic challenges at the club.
The Spanish league giants splashed the cash on big transfers during the summer transfer window. The latter was done despite not having the financial muscle to make such big money moves. During the transfer window, the Catalans spent €59m (£50m/$59m) on Raphinha and €50m (£42m/$51m) to sign Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.
After Lewandowski left for Barcelona, Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann commented:
“This is the only club in the world that can buy players without money. It’s something strange and crazy.”
So how did they achieve this? Introducing the “economic levers” of Barcelona.
What are Barcelona’s economic levers?
What are Barcelona’s economic levers? The term “economic lever” in the context of Barcelona describes the financial action taken to alleviate the constraints caused by the club’s debt situation. Essentially, the club partially sells assets to generate income to activate leverage.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has helped raise funds for the club to capitalize on the summer transfer window by drawing on the “economic leverage” available to the Catalans.
This lever means a lucrative but risky fundraising opportunity for the club. In Barcelona’s case, the club raises funds through TV sales and licensing rights for many years to come.
Barcelona officials voted at an EGM in June to allow the sale of part of the club’s TV rights and licensing and merchandising (BLM). This was done to reduce their huge debt and raise enough funds to build a strong team for the future.
So, instead of talking in detail about the sale of TV rights and other aspects of the club’s future business, the euphemistic financial jargon of “economic lever” is used.
Barcelona’s economics in numbers
How does Barcelona raise money for transfers? The Blaugrana was owed €1.35 billion (£1.16 billion/$1.42 billion) in 2021. Laporta has been given the green light to sell 49.9 percent of the club’s Licensing and Merchandising (BLM). This will ensure balancing Catalans’ economic accounts.
So far, Laporta has raised €582 million (£495 million/$591). He managed to do it by selling 25 percent of the club’s La Liga TV rights. The global firm called Sixth Street will manage these rights over the next 25 years
The club first sold 10 percent to the firm, bringing in around €267m (£229m/$277m). Later, the firm increased its stake by an additional 15 percent, bringing Barcelona an additional €315 million.
Barcelona’s business has also involved several players, including Frankie de Jong, many of whom are listed for sale.