"We could achieve record revenue levels and become the world's leading team". This was how Sandro Rosell, Chairman of FC Barcelona, outlined the club's growth target during the penultimate Matins ESADE session, sponsored by Ernst&Young and La Vanguardia.
Rosell said that he is very satisfied with how the Catalan football club's revenue has grown. Although the financial results of the 2010-2011 season are still to be announced, the club forecasts revenue to hit 470 million euros, therefore exceeding the 415 million euros recorded last year. Despite these record figures, the club will once again close the year at a loss, although far less severe than in previous years. However, forecasts are to close the coming years with a profit and, as a result, "gradually reduce debts" in the near future, thus improving solvency ratios until reaching sustainable levels.
On this note, Rosell stressed that the club's aim is not to be "profit-making", but "sustainable and solvent". To achieve this, he insisted that "just like any other company, our basic target is for the profit and loss account to break even, and then be able to gradually cut debt down to manageable levels".
Television a key player
Rosell underlined the important role of income from television rights, which bring in around 140 million euros, or a third of the club's revenue. What's more, he highlighted this as one of the reasons that gives both Real Madrid and Barça such a high profile in the world of sport.
Nevertheless, Rosell believes that differences with smaller clubs should level out "when, in 2015, television revenue is shared out in a different way". He also referred to the agreement signed with other clubs to reorganise the collective sale of TV rights. "This happens in other leagues, such as the Premier, and it works reasonably well", he said. For this reason, Barça has decided to be “supportive¿ of smaller clubs. "Barça and Madrid will still earn 140 million euros, but when income increases, it will be shared out with a different weighting, meaning that smaller clubs will receive more so that there aren't as many differences", he pointed out.
The FC Barcelona chairman is in favour of an end to live matches on Saturday nights. "That would help us generate income and share it out amongst smaller clubs, which would give us a more competitive league", he said.
Meanwhile, he also raised the idea of reducing the Spanish league to sixteen clubs and doubling the Champions League as "something that could be interesting, even on the revenue front", although he did admit that "this is highly unlikely to happen".
With an eye on China and the US
The chairman of FC Barcelona explained that the club's globalisation process will, in the next few years, focus on China and Japan, as well as the US, Mexico and Canada, as future strategic markets. On this note, he pinpointed China as "a country where we have enormous potential" thanks to the brand image the club has consolidated outside Spain.
Rosell sees new technologies as key to this expansion, which is why the club is counting on social media to "boost Barça's talent brand", he explained.
Club that sells
Rosell confirmed that this year FC Barcelona will start to sell talent for the first time. "We're seen as a club that buys, and this isn't in our favour", he remarked, adding that "we should be a club that sells". In this sense, the role of La Masia [FC Barcelona's training facilities] could be vital. "We must ensure good opportunities both on an economic and psychological level for young players who don't have a place in the first team", he stressed.
On this note, Rosell praised the existence of La Masia. "Unless it's an outstanding footballer like Messi, I'd rather keep coaching star players on home ground", he said.
On the very subject of signings, the chairman called for caution, because "at Barça not only is it a question of business, but also of handling feelings". That's why he believes that "very often emotions must be controlled and signings not made on a whim".
More sustainable stadium
Rosell also talked about the Camp Nou stadium, which he said at the moment is not sufficiently outfitted to deliver a business performance comparable to other European clubs. For this reason, he believes that "we could grow more if we redesigned our stadium and made it more sustainable by creating more economically-profitable zones in the stands".
Sandro Rosell (Lic&MBA 87), President of FC Barcelona, will feature this new colloquium-session of Matins ESADE titled "Managing a sports club with a worlwide impact".
Round table with:
Sandro Rosell (Lic&MBA 87), President of FC Barcelona Miguel Trias (MBA 89), President of ESADE Alumni Marcel Planellas (PMD 87), Secretary General of ESADE and Member of the ESADE Board of Management Joan Sureda (Lic&MBA 71), Associate Professor of the Department of Quantitative Methods of ESADE
Born 6th March 1964, Sandro Rosell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies and an MBA from ESADE. In the first stage of his career, he worked at a company called Myrurgia. In 1990, he joined the international marketing department of the organising committee for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, where he was responsible for dealing with international sponsors. In 1993, he became the head of Spanish operations for the Swiss sports-sponsorship company ISL, which acted as the commercial agent of the IOC, FIFA, FIBA, UEFA, IAAF and the LFP. In 1996, he joined Nike, where he served as the multinational’s sports marketing director for Spain and Portugal for three years. He was the architect of Nike’s contract with FC Barcelona, which is still in force. In 1999, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he served as Nike’s sports marketing manager for Brazil and Latin America. Among other accomplishments, he handled the contract between Nike and the Brazilian Football Confederation. Upon returning to Spain in 2002, he founded the company Bonus Sports Marketing, S.L. (BSM), dedicated to sports marketing. Among other important projects, he developed Football Dreams, currently in its fourth edition, a project that uses football to aid in social development in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He served as Vice President of Sports at FC Barcelona for two years (2003-2005). In June 2010, he was elected president of FC Barcelona.