As you probably know by now, Barcelona have a new sponsor. President Josep Maria Bartomeu announced on Wednesday a four-year deal with Rakuten, a Japanese company focused primarily on electronic products. It's like Amazon in Japan, so if you wanted Amazon to sponsor Barça, you're kind of getting that.
The deal kicks in next season, once the Qatar Airways deal ends. Rakuten will pay €55 million a year, but it could be €61.5 million if Barça win La Liga (€1.5 million bonus) and the Champions League (€5 million bonus) in the same season. It's a massive upgrade on the Qatar deal, and it's not just about money.
Rakuten have a strong reputation in the business world, and they've never been linked or associated with anything shady or doubtful. It's a very good moral change, a change the fans will welcome. It was really hard for Barça to claim it was "More than a Club" with that kind of business partnership with Qatar. That changes now. Having a sponsor is a must in today's football. It was really awesome when we had Unicef on the shirt donating money to them, but salaries are through the roof, a giant stadium project needs to be completed, and the club needs to make money. This helps, but we're not selling our soul anymore.
Financially, this is also obviously great. Once the spectacular new Nike deal starts, Barça's shirt will be worth €170 million a year in sponsorship — Nike, Rakuten and Beko —, which will take care of the wages and then some. That's why we're seeing so many contract renewals taking place right now: Bartomeu knows he has more money, and he can afford to keep this squad together for a very good part of the next decade without breaking the bank.
Also, this solidifies Bartomeu as a damn good president. You may not like him, but it's impossible to deny how good he has been since winning re-election last year. He got a 10-year, BILLIONAIRE deal with Nike that nobody thought was possible, is slowly moving Qatar away from the club, and is keeping the squad together, happy and with big fat bank accounts. That's a really good job.