US firm Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment has won a contract to market the naming rights to Camp Nou, the home stadium of Spanish Liga football club Barcelona.
Under its agreement with Barcelona, Van Wagner will also manage sponsorship rights for the Espai Barca development, under which Camp Nou’s capacity will be increased from 98,888 to around 105,000.
The project also includes the renovation of the 12,000-capacity Palau Blaugrana Arena, the opening of a new multi-purpose sports campus and work on Barcelona’s La Masia training academy.
“For us, Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment represents the complete guarantee that commercialisation of Espai Barca will be a success and the security that the world market will be analysed within the parameters and requirements that the club has set at this stage of transformation,” Manel Arroyo, vice-president of marketing and communication at Barcelona, said.
Jeff Knapple, chief executive of Van Wagner, added: "Espai Barca represents the commitment of FC Barcelona to offer engaging and innovative commercial formulas to show its partners. It truly is a platform for global partnership that will integrate new sponsors into a massive and historic regeneration in the heart of Barcelona and Catalonia, as well as provide a way of gaining global exposure and access to an incredibly passionate fan base."
Van Wagner has brokered a number of high-profile naming rights partnerships in the past, including MetLife’s deal with NFL American football franchises the New York Giants and Jets, SunTrust Bank’s deal with Major League Baseball team the Atlanta Braves, and English Premier League football club Arsenal's deal with Emirates.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu last May suggested the club could raise around €200m ($232m) by selling the naming rights to the stadium, which would retain its traditional Camp Nou name as part of any deal.
Construction work on the new Camp Nou stadium is scheduled to start during the 2017-18 season and end during the 2021-22 campaign.
Richard Schaps, chief executive of Van Wagner Group, added: “Our business is built to meet this type of global challenge. This isn’t about brokering a deal and moving on to the next – it’s about working with FC Barcelona to ensure that a rights package can add to the overall fan experience.”