Barcelona exploring option of selling more TV rights on top of 25% already gone

Barcelona are exploring further asset sales amid a torrid financial situation which has not improved dramatically in the last two seasons. President Joan Laporta made the term ‘economic levers’ famous after selling off assets, which was sold as a one-time thing, but it has been revealed that they could look to boost their cash flow again.

The Blaugrana sold off 25% of their La Liga TV rights for the next 25 years, as well as 49% of Barca Vision for a total of €667m in the summer of 2022, although they have had trouble with the latter. Currently they have only received €40m, when they were due to receive a further €40m last summer. Another payment of €60m is due this summer.

There have been no problems with the TV rights money, sold to Sixth Street, but Marc Ciria i Roig, a Barcelona economist who is an expert on the club’s finances, has told ESPN that Barcelona could be looking to sell another 24% of their rights. This is the maximum they have been authorised to by the club members, but would leave the club with just 51% of their rights remaining.

He estimates the club is losing €40m in value per yer as things stand, and that figure would obviously come close to doubling with another similar sale. It means that over the course of the piece, Barcelona are only receiving €600m in total over the quarter century for the immediate cash injection, while Sixth Street are due to make €1b in total.

Ciria also estimates that the club debt in total could be as high as €3b, while media mogul Jaume Roures puts the figure closer to €2.7b. The former also points out that club boards are required to cover the costs of any losses made during their mandate, which could impulse further asset sales, including Barcelona Licensing and Merchandising. Laporta and the board have been authorised to sell up to 49% of BLM too, which is described as one of the financial engines of the club, and could be endangered if the board look set to make major losses as they go into the end of their mandate (2026).

It illustrates the slippery slope that Laporta has put Barcelona onto, while trying to kickstart the economy after the pandemic. While a risky move at the time, selling further assets threatens to hamstring their ability to make money down the line, and could see future management with very little room for manoeuvre.

It should also be noted that €1.5b of the Barcelona debt is down to a loan taken out to renovate Camp Nou, and is structured as long-term debt, so is unlikely to be called in any time soon. While Barcelona were in danger of administration post-pandemic, in 2021, Laporta has restructured much of their short-term debt, staving off any immediate fears of the club defaulting.

Tags Barcelona Joan Laporta Marc Ciria
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