Barcelona and Real Madrid sponsors lick your lips: El Clásico can generate over $40m in value to brands

Joe Hall
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FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
El Cashico: Social media is becoming increasingly valuable for football sponsors (Source: Getty)

Shortly ahead of last December's El Clásico, Barcelona announced an eye-watering sponsorship deal with Japanese online firm Rakuten, worth a reported $58m (£47m) a year.

The deal is one of the largest football shirt-sponsorship deals in history, yet if you wanted an indication as to why Barcelona were able to command such a high fee, look no further than the next instalment of their eternal rivalry with Real Madrid this weekend.

According to consultancy and measurement firm Nielsen Sports, El Clásico is capable of raising tens of millions in value for sponsors of the two La Liga giants.

Read more: The business secrets behind Real Madrid's Champions League success (hint: it's not just the galacticos)

Nielsen's analysis found that the December meeting between the two sides at Barcelona's Camp Nou, generated $42.5m in value for the sponsors, with the home side responsible for $37.4m in media value for brands and Real Madrid driving $5.1m.

Unsurprisingly for a fixture that is reported to have attracted over 400m viewers in the past, the live TV broadcast represented the biggest media value driver for sponsors at $18.5m.

Yet the increasing power of social media to increase brand exposure was reflected in the fact that both social media and Spain's domestic TV news coverage of the game generated $5.1m in media value.

While Barcelona were able to deliver for their various sponsors through use of inventory in their stadium, Real Madrid leveraged social media which accounted for 41 per cent of their total.

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"[The analysis] highlights the importance of social media for an away team as a tool to generate value for partners when there is no possibility for exposure through traditional in-stadium advertising inventory," said Nielsen Sports' head of digital Max Barnett.

"We’ll likely see the away team this weekend, FC Barcelona, invest in engaging, relevant content for their global fan base”.

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