How losing Lionel Messi could cost Barcelona €137 million
At the moment, Barca are second only to Real Madrid in the list of the world's most valuable football clubs, but this may not last much longer...
Lionel Messi's departure from Barcelona could wipe a massive €137 million off the club's value, which would be a decrease of 11 per cent.
By leaving the club, Lionel Messi will not just change Barcelona on the pitch but off it as well, with the Catalan giants set to fall way behind Real Madrid as the world's most valuable club.
Currently, Barcelona's brand value stands at €1,266m, just €10m behind their great rivals, Real. This makes Barca the second most valuable club in the world.
Brand Finance estimate that Messi leaving could see an 11 per cent drop in Barcelona's brand value. Brand value is based on the proportion of revenues that is attributable to the brand, and Messi's departure from the club is set to have an adverse effects on Barcelona's future sponsorship income, merchandise sales, and matchday revenue.
It may also result in a decline in brand value as the club's brand strength is weakened by lower fan perceptions and less global following around the world.
An 11 per cent drop in brand value would equate to €137 million and would not only see Barca fall further behind Real Madrid, but could also see them drop to third, with Manchester United overtaking them. Their brand value currently sits at €1,130 million.
Hugo Hensley, Head of Sports Services at Brand Finance, said: "Messi is synonymous with the Barcelona brand and has been the club’s talisman since bursting onto the scene 15 years ago.
"His presence at the club has no doubt allowed it to attract additional fans, better players, managers, commercial deals, and win silverware. His departure can cost the club as much and result in a painful brand value decrease."
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 9, 2021
The key areas in which Messi's departure will be felt most harshly are:
- Commercial revenue: Messi has more than double the Instagram followers of the official Barcelona account so is an incredible draw for sponsors. The brand value at risk linked to commercial revenue is estimated at around €77m.
- Shirt sales and merchandising: Messi's shirt sales generated over €200 million for Barcelona, with 10-15 per cent of this going to the club and the rest to Nike. His departure will not only cost Nike revenue, but could also see Barca lose out on €43 million in brand value.
- On-pitch performance: Perhaps the most obvious impact. There is a reason that the Argentinian is regarded as the GOAT - he's scored more than 30 goals a season since 2008/2009. No matter how good Barca's squad is at the start of this season (and it doesn't look great), they will miss Messi's presence on the pitch. This could cost the up to €17 million.
If Barcelona needed any more warning as to how much Messi leaving will hurt them financially, they need only look to how Ronaldo's departure impacted Real Madrid in 2018.
Los Blancos saw their brand value plummet by 19 per cent when CR7 left for Juventus three years ago. The club have not been the same since, winning a solitary league title since then and failing to reach a single Champions League final. By Real Madrid's standards, that's a catastrophic period.
Of course, none of this bleak outlook is set in stone for Barcelona. The club’s future actions and performance can play a significant role in reducing the risk of such a painful drop in brand value.
But if the last few seasons are anything to go by, Barcelona fans have every right to feel very concerned about what the coming months and seasons may bring...