A sorta Nou Nou, aka “Charging forward into an uncertain future”

Image via fcbarcelona.cat

Image via fcbarcelona.cat

So here we go, people. The fun begins. At a press conference today, one that for me was akin to a medicine show from days of yore, we were being sold some tonic by a quartet of salesmen.

For anyone interested in a blow-by-blow, I liveTweeted the press conference, via @kevvwill on Twitter. This piece isn’t that, though it will deal with the gist of what is being offered up, along with my views and interpretation of what was offered up. The “medicine show” quip probably gave you a clue of what that view is but truth to tell, I am torn on the matter, as the culer and soci in me are having a fight.

The press conference today was to announce that the board of our beloved club has decided to build what is essentially a covered (except for the pitch) Nou Nou, atop the husk of the current Nou. The renovation is oh, so loosely based on the discarded Foster project, and here are the details:

– Its total cost will be 600m
— Construction will take place in phases, from 2017 to 2021
— On the first matchday in April (5 or 6) the simple “yea” or “nay” vote will be held. If the members vote no, no project happens.
— The club expects to be paying for the stadium for 8 years
— Naming rights will not be sold, but a “surname” will be an option (Camp Nou Coca-Cola, for example)
— Two-thirds of the total cost will come from the club
— There will be a model, but that model won’t look like what will eventually be built
— Construction begins in the first year of the next president’s tenure
— Capacity will be 105,000, and the pitch will be even more vertical (those who have sat in the 300 and up sections, are thinking “WUT??!! How the hell can it get more vertical?”

The soci in me

Barça is a world-class club, among the best in the world, with a stadium that is essentially a giant segunda facility. That is, you come for the match, then you go home. There is no reason to stay. There aren’t corporate boxes, more than half of it is exposed to the elements, so if you buy a ticket on the Lateral side and it rains, you’re screwed.

As every board member who made a presentation pointed out, we lag behind all of our big-time competitors when it comes to matchday revenue. The effect on the sporting project is that, despite bringing in almost a half-billion per year in revenues, so much of that goes to the football team, and those great, big ol’ salaries. Transfer fees become more closely linked to who is sold, all of which affects the club’s place on the global football stage.

Just as Les Corts was necessary to maximize matchday revenue to keep pace with competitors, and the Camp Nou after that, this Nou Nou is a way to keep the club competitive in the fullest sense with its big European rivals. Want to buy a Javi Martinez and not quibble about the price? Build the damn thing.

In this, I am sort of echoing what the board members were saying, mostly because they’re right. We have been very lucky in that Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Busquets, Valdes, Puyol, Messi, have cost the club essentially salary. No transfer fees. Pique was cheap as was Alba, and don’t get me started on Fabregas. The savings from the Masia core has enabled the club to spend where it needs to on other players, because of the luxury of that home-grown, world class core.

The club needs the revenues from a modern football stadium. A renovation is the least expensive option, as a completely new stadium on a different site (at the top of the Diagonal) would cost twice what a rehab does, north of a billion Euros. And that ain’t chickenfeed.

Photo from fcbarcelona.cat

Photo from fcbarcelona.cat

The culer in me

They’ve sold the shirt, and want to build a new stadium for all the moneygrubbing reasons that those penny-pinching moneygrubbers want: sponsorships, suited men in luxury boxes who will watch the match on TV, and the carnival crap attendant to a soulless modern football stadium. Ick. Leave the club’s soul alone.

Further, in making grandiose statements about the future of the club depending on this new facility, and it being the most important decision in 150 years … then adding that construction will begin in 2017, during the tenure of the next president, the board is essentially making the stadium the ultimate transfer promise that a presidential candidate makes.

And even when couched in “most important decision the club has made, blablabla,” it’s still about them. “Thanks to what we have done,” “We did this,” “We did that,” strong words from a group who used fiscal skullduggery to make Joan Laporta look like a cigar-smoking, cava soaked fiend who bathed in Euros. Now the greatest thing that the club has ever done, is possible, thanks to us.

I’m the one sitting in the corner, not applauding.

The cost of the renovation has almost doubled since 2007, when the Foster proposal was tabled. So what happens to the 600m cost in the three years from 2014 to 2017? Good question. Are we to become another Arsenal, with a fancy new stadium, and so much debt that we are hamstrung in the transfer market for years to come? And what kind of deals with the devil will we have to make when the cost goes up again? Not sure how many here know the history, but the Camp Nou was big, expensive and cost the club more than money as it worked to pay down the debt.

Further making the hairs on the back of my culer neck rise is the way the board presented its own re-election pitch in the guise of a new stadium, a monument to their brilliance. “The future of the club depends on it.” “We will be able to do this without affecting the sporting project.” “Only coincidence that the 30m per year is, whaddaya know, the sponsorship amount that we get from Qatar.

But it gets better.

At the press event, they presented a rendering(s), which you see above. There was no model, though one would be thrown together over the weeks before the April vote. But, the finished product won’t look like the model. So, when you go to buy a car, do they show you a picture of a car, and say “Well, let’s do the deal, and when you come back tomorrow, you will have a car that will look a lot like this, or maybe not?” Would you buy a car under those conditions?

Appearance doesn’t matter, right? What’s important is the revenue that a stadium will bring to the club. This is true. But it’s typical of the rather half-assed dog and pony show that this stadium “announcement” was, the culmination of a process that was, and is about as transparent as three feet down in a mud pit. And for that matter, are we or aren’t we an austerity club? Well, we still are, according to Javier Faus, but the brilliant work done by your board in eradicating debt and generating new revenue sources has made this wonderful project possible. We saved the club! And don’t forget that as you head for the ballot box in 2016!

Two thirds of the 600m cost will come from the club, over 8 years. That is 400m, unless my math skills truly are as bad as I think they are. They say that all that money, almost a year’s gross revenues, won’t affect the sporting project in any way, that it will be business as usual. That strains credulity, given that a short time ago, we had to sell a player against his coach’s will to scrape up 15m to add to the bottom line, and stopped making color copies.

So as with most things and most culers who are dealing with this business, I am torn, an easy state to be in. It isn’t just that I view this board and its actions with a healthy dose of suspicion, though that is some of it. It’s the lack of transparency, the presentation of and belief in best-case scenarios that makes me come to this with a heavy, heavy dose of skepticism.

Toni Freixa (from left), Sandro Rosell, Javier Faus and Jordi Moix (Photo by German Parga, for FC Barcelona)

Toni Freixa (from left), Sandro Rosell, Javier Faus and Jordi Moix (Photo by German Parga, for FC Barcelona)

Bonus Neymar

When the floor was opened for questions at today’s press event, darned if those pesky journalists didn’t start asking questions about the El Mundo story that purports to have the real cost of Neymar’s contract. And a number of interesting responses came forth because Toni Freixa, sniffing the air like a coal mine canary, figured that answers were creating more questions and doubt that resolution.

— Rosell said that he is going to request of the judge presiding in the case that he be allowed to formally testify in court about the Neymar contract, so that the court too can see that the deal is as pure as the driven snow.

— Rosell also said (and this is VERY interesting) that he would love to release details of the contract, but players always want those things to remain confidential. So is Neymar the root of the confidentiality agreement? He would certainly have the most to gain from such an arrangement.

— Rosell insisted that the true cost of the Neymar transfer was 57m, and he would love to say more, but he was bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Again to my view, Rosell knows that the court isn’t going to let him come in and explain the contract to them, so he can confidently say “I WANT to go to court and lay it all out.” The judge should grant the request, to see what would happen when.

We will almost certainly never know the details of the Neymar transfer in full, and as with the stadium, I am of two minds: does it really matter, and those evil men ginned up a nefarious deal that they don’t want anyone to know about, because of their fiscal skullduggery.

The only thing I do know is that as with the stadium’s pie in the sky projections, the things that have to go right for them to come to fruition and the potential damage to the club that this project purports to save, I have to say that I don’t like it. Yes, even as I understand the necessity for the risk.

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71 Responses to “A sorta Nou Nou, aka “Charging forward into an uncertain future””

  1. Jim says:

    A decent account of the two sides, Kxevin. Still not sure what your preferred option would be. I have to say something needs done as it’s a lovely stadium on a balmy night when I was there but I’d have been less than pleased if it had been chucking it down.

    Without knowing too much about it, the refurb is surely the sensible option. A roof, even partial will also help the sound although like you I just can’t begin to imagine how steeper banking will ever get past health and safety in this day and age.

    • G6O says:

      I am not an expert on stadium construction (but then, how many people are?), but I have hard time believing a roof alone would cost 600 million. Most of this is likely due to reworking the core structure of the stadium to fit the corporate boxes and the likes. Which are things the average fan will never see any benefit from (unlike the roof)

    • Kxevin says:

      I’m torn, Jim, still. I understand the necessity for it, but as a soci, that kind of debt load scares the crap out of me. Luckily, La Masia is stacked with gobs of talent, much of it due to come good at that time (assuming they don’t all scuttle off to the Premiership, or whereever).

      That might be our only transfer route if this thing goes kerflooey, fiscally.

      I have been there when it was raining, and it was miserable. Made the mistake of buying low on the Tribuna side, just out of the roof cover.

      I started laughing when he said “steeper.” Maybe each seat will come with a goat. They can certainly rake the first two levels more steeply, however. He wasn’t clear on that in the presser.

      • Peter says:

        Actually Moix said it involves just the firtst tier, the second and third would remain structurally the same. It’s about 17:30 min in the presser, the powerpoint shows Estadi ENEA, 105k, 1st tier – new construction, more vertical and with better visibility.

  2. G6O says:

    I have very serious doubt we will be able to repay those 600 million from increased revenue. And everybody know it’s not going to cost 600 million – when was such a project ever completed within its projected budget?

    And the reason we won’t be able to repay them is that the projected revenue is not going to materialize, which in turn is because the state of the economy in the 2020s will almost certainly be much much worse than what it is now. This will also make that revenue obsolete – because it will eliminate it for other clubs too so what we compete with them over will disappear (in that environment, what will be of utmost importance will be the ability of the youth system to produce world-class players).

    Of course, it is highly unlikely that someone as business-minded like Rosell could see things from such a perspective, which is how we will be saddled with massive debt for many years.

    A look at what is happening with Manchester United right now is very informative about what we can expect – the size of the added debt will be similar. The building of the Camp Nou is also informative, as you mentioned. We won 2 titles between 1960 and 1990…

    • Kxevin says:

      Bear in mind, however, that the debt problem at United is due to the Glazers, and the way they “bought” the club by essentially saddling it with absurd quantities of debt.

      The concern with this project is what the actual cost will be by 2017, and what kind of shape the club will be in.

      Your observation about the title drought is correct. Not all relatable to the Camp Nou project, but the club was certainly hamstrung for a while.

  3. Leckan1 says:

    Some important details:

    €600m is what the entire “Espai Barca” project will cost, including a new Palau Blaugrana (for other sections) which will reportedly cost €90m as well as other infrastructure such the new Miniestadi built in the traning complex as well as roads, and parkings and so forth.

    The actual cost of the renovation of the stadium itself will reportedly cost €420m.

    Also, since the tenure is now 4 years, Rosell will still be in charge when they start building in 2017 if I’m not correct, even though he will be gone when it’s finished.

  4. Leckan1 says:

    Also, since the tenure is now 4 years, Rosell will still be in charge when they start building in 2017 (if he wins the election which seems fairly likely given his influence over the media) if I’m not correct, even though he will be gone when it’s finished.

  5. Leckan1 says:

    I don’t necessarily disagree just putting it out there.

  6. Peter says:

    Well, Kxevin, here are some observations of mine:

    1. The renovation is loosely based on the Foster design. Except that’s talking without saying anything, man. The design uses the existing structure of Camp Nou, what do you expect it to look like, Soldier Field?

    2. More vertical will be the first ring. The second and third will be untouched. If you pay attention to the design, the first tier will be steeper, so that it could seam with the second, maybe via a ring of exec boxes or “platinum seating”, thus eliminating the last rows that are under the second tier. The lowered number of seats would be compensated and increased by the completion of the last ring of the third tier.

    3. I thought Laporta was a cigar-smoking fiend who fucked zebras in cava-filled pools. Or was that what he could do without the culers giving a single solitary limping fuck after he won the sextuple? In that train of thought, if the team wins the Treble and Fifth Champions, would the culers stop their screaming at Rosell? Oh well, who am I kidding.

    4. 30 million is the amount of the current shirt sponsor contract. That contract ends in 2016. Current top-team contracts in the EPL are much higher than that. Some food for thought maybe? Further food for thought: The new TV contract for La Liga may start from the 2014-15 season and it will feature a 250 million Euro increase. If the LFP manages to pull its collective head out of its collective behind, then external TV deals would also bring increased income, maybe even combined with increased merchandising sales due to Neymar and Messi playing in the same team.

    5. The Foster project did not feature that much reconstruction and featured less construction in the stadium overall. If it had been the same, its price would’ve been higher. Even without the effect of inflation.

    6. Chygrynskiy wasn’t worth it, could we please get over it after four years and stop using him as a poster boy for the hurtful side effects of austerity just because PEP said he wasn’t that bad? Newsflash(I got one too!), Pep thought Hleb, Keirrison and Henrique were also good. And I believe there was one other guy… Ivanov? Ahmedovich? Big guy, bigger ego. Oh well, past tense.

    7. Taking your car dealership analogy, you’re certainly right that nobody is going to ask the socis to choose the actual façade and appearance. Then again, since my memory is fuzzy(I had more pressing, skirt-wearing matters on my mind), was there an actual referendum that chose the Foster turkish-bath-for-color-blind-themed stadium?

    P.S. Watching the press conference again I wonder whether it’s obligatory to have your frontal lobe removed in order to qualify to work as a sport journalist in Spain.

    • Kxevin says:

      I hope it won’t look like Soldier Field. I have no doubt that it will be well executed. I do worry about cost and related debt, however. I worry very much.

      It’s interesting, because most culers don’t care all that much about Rosell and the board. You get many more conversations calling Messi selfish than you do calling board actions into question. Culers just want winning football. As long as that happens, there could be video of Laporta or Rosell doing that very thing you suggest with zebras, and it would be … “Okay, how about that Messi hat trick on the weekend?”

      I suspect that the next shirt sponsor will also be part of the “surname” deal. It is also my hope that even though the next Liga TV contract will indeed have more money, that we see less of it. A more equitable revenue distribution is loooong overdue. I suspect that the club is recognizing that by ramping up other marketing efforts.

      I wouldn’t place any hope in LFP taking its head out of its ass.

      The overall project is more extensive than Foster, and more ambitious. We’ll wait to see what it’s going to cost. I do suspect that by 2017 it will be close to a billion.

      As for Txigrinski, my mention of him wasn’t anything to do with anything except the notion of the austerity boondoggle. As for him as a player, there are many views, none of which matter now as he is gone.

  7. Roger Evans says:

    This may be a peripheral issue, but one reason I’m glad to see them not move to another location is that I know people (and I’m sure there are many, many that I wouldn’t know) who have bought apartments, or whose families long ago bought apartments) just to be close to the Camp Nou. How awful they would feel, how totally that neighborhood would feel, it they jerked the field away to some other area (populated by people who didn’t set out to secure a place near Barça for themselves).

    • Kxevin says:

      Not only that, but imagine what it would do to the life of the current neighborhood, not to mention economic effect on the area.

      That pesky little university standing its ground is probably the biggest (unspoken) reason that the Diagonal migration isn’t happening. Bravo to them.

  8. fotobirajesh says:

    There was no model, though one would be thrown together over the weeks before the April vote. But, the finished product won’t look like the model

    For me this is terribly funny. How can a professional organisation say something like this, especially over a millions worth project. Even my local village administrative representatives will not dare make such a statement about their projects for village. Such a statement will be heavily used against them in the next election, with all kinds of sarcasm build on it.

    • Peter says:

      Because as of now the decision is whether to build or not, NOT “What exactly shall we build and how it will look like.”

      This is the preliminary phase. Socis will decide whether they want the place built. If the socis give their vote then architecture firms will be approached to present propositions within the guidelines given by the club.

      And no, they didn’t say it won’t look like the model. Kxevin interpreted it that way.

      • Kxevin says:

        What they said was in effect, we will build a model, but that model will be subject to change, based on what firm does the project, etc. So yes, I read that as they don’t know exactly what it will look like.

        The larger question is does it matter what it will look like? Returning to your Solder Field analogy, the fact that the Chicago Bears play in the equivalent of a space-age toilet bowl doesn’t affect the team or its fans one single iota. People don’t say, “I can’t go to a game in that thing! Look at it!”

        I did expect, given all of the contemplation and machinations, that there would be a more complete presentation. “This is what it will look like, and here’s how it lays out.” When Soldier Field was introduced, that was how it worked. Architectural critics pissed and moaned, but no matter. It was a lovely dog and pony show.

        I can’t even buy that they didn’t want to go so far because they are uncertain that the socis are going to vote yes. They already have a pretty clear idea that the socis are going to vote yes. What’s more, they probably should vote yes, even as uncertain a future as that yes vote will represent.

  9. Kxevin says:

    Oh, my sides! This “Home Alone” themed Crackovia is hilarious:

    http://www.tv3.cat/videos/4866812/Cholo-en-casa

  10. Huckleberry says:

    My biggest concern is that the grass keeps on growing under the new roof. A perfect pitch is far more important for our style than dry spectators!
    There are many new roofed stadiums with big problems with the pitch.

    • Peter says:

      It’s a legitimate concern, but it can be done. Camp orientation is vital, and Camp Nou is in a general north-south direction, and the curvature of the bowl is less wall-like. This allows the pitch to have more sunlight. A lot depends on the structure and materials used for the cover. ETFE(really resistant self-cleaning transparent plastic) is increasingly being used in new stadium constructions. If they add some pollarizing material underneath then it won’t be necessary to even have shades. Opaque concrete/metal roofs are a thing of the past.

    • barca96 says:

      Amsterdam Arena is closed too most of the times. And of course the grass won’t be good, not even close to perfect. It has always been a problem for them since the beginning. They used to relay a new pitch every few months back then.

      When I went back there again recently, they said that they use a new method which requires them to change far less times.

      They use this method so perhaps Barca can apply it too;
      http://www.pictureshack.us/view_13677_Ajax_Stadium_Pitch_Grass_20131231_134732.jpg

  11. barca96 says:

    Since they want to modify the seating, I would like them to take some cues from of the Seattle Seahawks’CenturyLink Field’s concept of the NFL.

    *http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=10274096

    *http://www.businessinsider.com/seattle-seahawks-stadium-loud-2014-1

    • barca96 says:

      The Seattle Seahawks have the loudest stadium in the NFL, CenturyLink Field. It set the noise record for an outdoor stadium.

      …the curvature of the roof, along with the materials the stadium is made of — metal and concrete — reflect the sound better:

      “It’s a metal roof so it naturally is a very reflective surface. As is the seating bowl which is largely concrete. So there are a lot of those materials that are serving as sound mirrors, if you will, and bouncing the sound right back….

      The way the roof is angled, and the way the bowl captures all the sound that goes backwards and focuses it back towards the center of the stadium, you’re pretty much going to get the maximum affect right at the players.”

      The two overhanging roofs basically act as noise catchers, deflecting the cheers from below back toward the century of the field.

  12. barca96 says:

    @ Jim

    I am definitely happy about the roof as it will prevent the noise going out too much. I’ve always wanted a louder 12th man at Camp Nou. And the fans will be dry.

  13. barca96 says:

    - Why does the work only start in 2017? Does it take that long to plan? By then the prices of raw materials will be much higher.

    I am not part of the anti-Rosell group and I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but it seems that Rosell doesn’t want to be burdened by the costs and therefore want the construction to only start after he is no longer in office as he won’t be able to run for re-election in 2016 (max 2 terms).

    – No matter what Rosell or the club says, it will have a great impact on the club by taking such a huge amount of loan to build or renovate a new stadium. Look at Arsenal as an example. For that reason alone I was against building a new stadium.

    – Why is there a need to increase the stadium capacity when it’s not even close to full most of the times? They might as well use the expansion of seats money to reduce the ticket prices and fill the stadium up every match day. I reckon they will definitely earn more on a consistent basis rather than just banking on big match days (be it 98k or 105k).

    • Peter says:

      Actually the permissions to start working would probably take one or two years. Furthermore, the board wants to start spending money once the debt situation is better. Currently the net debt of the club stands at 331m. By Summer 2016, when the money will start to be poured, the net debt will have to go down to less than 200m Euro. By waiting one more year the club would have a more solid financial basis. Another reason may be the fact that there may be a new bigger TV contract and the Club would want that financial cushion in case something happens. Besides, plans can change. If the club manages to get the permits and the finances allow it, the works could start from the winter of 2016 for example.

      Actually Rosell is serving his first term, because when he became president the terms were 6 years. You can thank Laporta for that. But now the terms are for four years once more(I think), so if Rosell wins a re-election(if he stands for re-election), he would actually preside over the building of the stadium, but not the finishing. At that point he would be something like 8 months out of the seat.

      Barcelona aren’t Arsenal. FC Barcelona have shown that under current terms the club can lower its net debt by up to 50m per year while having around 40m for signing players. If you recall, in 2011 Fabregas and Alexis came. In 2012 it was Song and Alba. Last summer it was Neymar. But that’s not to say it won’t be a very easy thing. We’re talking of at least 50m expenditure per year for eight years(currently). The club would have to be very careful and continue to work as hard as possible to get new sources of revenue.

    • Peter says:

      It’s not just stadium capacity. It’s the value of the seats themselves. Current designs show that up to 2000 VIP seats will be available, and the existing normal seats would be much more comfortable due to not being subjected to the elements. What’s more, the availability of seats would generate more income from season ticket holders. As to why are VIP seats such a good investment, one example: Three weeks before the match against Elche, there were no tickets for the vip zone. Three weeks. And these tickets cost upwards of 400 Euro for such games. Rich people want status, and executive boxes are a status symbol. Now imagine if there were more seats, with better visibility and better facilities to pamper the suits. ;)

      Currently the stadium isn’t filling because it’s so open, due to the ongoing struggles of the Spanish economy(people would rather watch at a bar where they have to pay just for the beer and peanuts and won’t be subjected to wind and rain). But you shouldn’t forget that 83 000 of these seats are already paid for. Even if the owners don’t show up, that money is still accounted for.

  14. Kxevin says:

    The judge has admitted the Neymar contract case. The circus begins. He began by requesting all the pertinent transfer documents from FIFA, and will proceed from there. Looks like Rosell will have his day in court. There is already a request to move proceedings to Barcelona. We will see how that goes.

  15. Levon says:

    In completely unrelated news, the Guardian is reporting an imminent move for Mata from Chelsea to Manchester Utd.

  16. psalmuel says:

    1st commandment about playing a parked bus is; Thou shalt not let them score first. We broke that rule and now we gonna be playing against a 9-0-1 formation

  17. Miguel says:

    messi is a human spirograph that was so frickin’ beautiful

  18. G6O says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen, in all my years of watching football, four goals being scored in a single game from exactly the same play, involving exactly the same two players.

    Amazing. He can definitely become one of the greatest classical number 10s once he slows down (although the number of balls he lost would have caused trouble against a better team).

  19. psalmuel says:

    Selfless game from Messi, I just wished he notched a goal or two. Never the less, teams have been using the Simeone model to play us. I.e
    1. Their back four stay put no matter where the ball is.
    2. The mids and strikers crowd the midfield when we are with the ball and tend to press us back into our own half before returning to their bus. What Tata has done differently (or maybe effectively?) from Pep and Tito is that, instead of just passing the ball for a billion times from side to side around the bus and hoping for a miracle, Tata has another alternative of attacking when the opponents lose the ball and their defence is out of shape. This is why last season, Mou parked the bust in midfield and played a high line of defence, knowing that, we’ll never attempt a long ball. The only time we did that, Messi scored in the 2-1 lose

    • Jafri says:

      Confidence for Tello – who has the least number of minutes of any of the forwards; and more team integration for Messi instead of everyone relying on him. What’s not to love?

  20. PrinceYuvi says:

    Puyi broke again.
    Instead of being worried about our LionHeart my mind just hopes for that New CB signing.

  21. Jafri says:

    Man, Tello doesn’t have the most varied of skill sets, but he’s 10/10 in what he’s good at.

  22. Jafri says:

    Can someone explain to me why Real Madrid are consistently the highest earning club in football (ninth year in a row), and what we can do to overtake them/ at least reduce the €36m gap?

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/755/europe/2014/01/23/4561779/real-madrid-footballs-highest-earners-for-record-ninth-year?ICID=HP_BN_1

    • G6O says:

      How the hell did PSG generate 400M of revenue?????

    • Peter says:

      It’s not that complicated actually: Real Madrid sell. When you sell a player you put in the accounting books the whole sum. But when you sign a player you put just the “amortization” of his contract for the corresponding year.
      So for example:
      Real Madrid buy Bale for 100m on a 4-year contract in 2013-2014. For the 2013-2014 season Bale figures as 25m expenditure.
      Real Madrid sell Higuain for 40 million. For the 2013-2014 season he figures as 40 million income.
      This season Real have spent 30m on Isco, 39 on Illaramendi, 6.5 on Carvajal, 6 on Casemiro, 101 on Gareth Bale, a total of 182m Euro. Due to the different contracts, the expenses for this year will be something like 32m of those transfers.
      At the same time Real have sold Higuain, Pedro Leon, Callejon, Albiol, Ozil and got 4.4m from Alvaro Negredo to City. A total of 117.4m Euro – all of which will be put in the books as income.

      What does this mean? Well, Real might declare upward of 550m revenue this year. Their amortization costs will shoot through the roof though.

      However, don’t forget the saying: “Revenue is for vanity, profit is for sanity”.
      At this point Real gain by not winning any real titles. :D When Barcelona won La Liga in 2012-2013, bonuses amounting to 16-20m were paid to the players. Still, Barcelona registered profits of 32m Euro. Real registered 35,9m Euro profit in 2012-2013, but they didn’t have to give out bonuses.

      The year before, when they had won La Liga, in 2011-2012, they got more income overall, but had a declared profit of 24m Euro.In 2012-2013 Real’s income was down a couple of percent, which under similar circumstances would’ve meant they’d get less profit – but the profit as said was 36. And that’s the reason – no bonuses for won trophies.

      Second, Real share their players’ image rights, which allows them to profit for example from BL’s latest underwear edition.

      • Jafri says:

        Thanks for that detailed breakdown Peter.

        According to the link posted by G60, our matchday revenue and player salaries are the only places we really profit less/ pay out more than Madrid. Plus we took a long long time to recover from the Ibra fiasco.

        So I guess the stadium refurbishment is a step towards redressing some of the deficit?

        • G6O says:

          Yes, that surely must figure in the thinking of the board.

          I have said this many times before here – the history of the game at the highest level over the last 2 decades has been one of initially small differences in revenue being amplified over time and eventually becoming large gaps in team quality and competitiveness. Because if you can buy one more world class player than your opponents every season, over time this translates into a significantly better squad, which in turn means silverware, which means more revenue and so on. This is how for example Manchester United got the where they were in the mid 00s starting from pretty much the same position as a dozen other clubs in the EPL in its beginning (and how they have lost that dominance due to the debt they have had to pay off since the takeover).

          Taking this into account, those 30-35 million gap in revenue is a very serious cause for concern. Because that is one world class player a year at current prices. And you see the effects of it when you compare the squads – our first 11 is better than theirs, but their second 11 us much much better than ours. They have 2 world class players at almost every position, at some more than that. We don’t. And this is in the context of being extremely lucky to have obtained so many historically great players through the youth system, something which we simply cannot bank on for the indefinite future.

        • Peter says:

          Actually the link G60 posted is from 2012 and relies on data from the 2010-2011 period and maybe the first half of the 2011-2012. Right now it’s a bit different. Quite a bit I’d assume.

          Stadium refurbishment is a great step forward, because it will finally let Camp Nou become what most modern stadiums have been for a long time – not just a sport center, but a social center. There are 60-100 000 people congreagating at this place some thirty times over a ten-month period, on average every ten days or so. That human flow generates all kinds of revenue options.

          The truth of the matter is that at this point the added income from the stadium would make it possible for Barcelona to become a Galactico team, or to become a truly scary Athletic club, capable of having top teams in practically every section of the club, be it futsal, roller hockey, basketball, handball or women’s football. As of right now Barcelona are able to bring down the debt and at the same time spend 40m on signing players – and that is without selling players. According to the projected debt balances for the next years, the club would manage to bring down the net debt for this year by around 70 million, by virtue of Thiago Alcantara’s transfer.

          At this point Barcelona are more interested in reducing the debt and saving up money in order to be independent of the revenue flow. But if a moment comes when the board decides to stop reducing the debt and keep it at a said level, then those 50 million could be added to the guaranteed 40 million for transfers.

          In essence Barcelona could spend 0.9 Bale every year just on signing new players, regardless of whether there is income from outgoing transfers. And that’s without the additional stadium revenue. That money could be spent not just on the football club, it can be spent on the basketball and handball teams, futsal, roller hockey, the women’s teams, sections. BTW, those sections are not profitable. They currently generate up to 26 million deficit per year, which the club pays. Real Madrid have just their basketball. Chelsea, Arsenal have just women’s teams. P$G, United don’t have even those.

    • Jim says:

      My Spanish isn’t great but does that say he’s considering stepping down to preserve the club’s reputation?

      • HisR0yalFlyness says:

        No reason to step down if everything is above board. Its already in court. Let it play out if there’s nothing to hide. Resigning to save face would just look like an admission of guilt.

        • Levon says:

          My guess? He is just offering to resign so that his supporters can clamor for him not to resign. Josep Nuñez employed the same trick once upon a time. Took us pretty much 20 years to get rid of him after that.

  23. barca96 says:

    - If Pep or Tito were still the coach, I don’t think Sergi Roberto would’ve gotten so much playing time.

    I thought he was a box-to-box type of player. But recently he doesn’t help defend or crash the box. I just see him running around in midfield. I thought he was a Cesc type of player.

    His first touch isn’t La Masia like either and most of the times he has a tough time trying to get the ball under control and as a result gets nudged off. He really needs to step it up as he will face a much stiffer competition next season.

    – It seems that Tello has lost confidence and/or lost pace. He doesn’t run at defenders anymore. There has been many times in the last few times that he got to play where he had the space to beat the defender but decided against it.

    – Messi oh my God.

    – Where is Ballesteros? He was missing last weekend as well. According to Wiki he is still a Levante player.

    – I hope now that the leg is already won, Tata will rest Messi in the return leg as he can’t afford to rest Messi in the league now with Madrid just 1 point behind.

    • georgjorge says:

      Well, Tello certainly hasn’t lost pace…confidence yes, but yesterday should be enough to get it back up to previous levels, no?

    • fotobirajesh says:

      Sergi seems like somebody who needs more time to gell and to gain confidence , something like what is happening always with Lamella.

      Tello should be confident now, but I was screaming at the Tv for him to be subbed, during our first goal. If he was worthy of a starting place in an FCB team, our first goal would not have been an own goal, after receiving such a gem of a pass. He should have find the net easily. I think, that goal relaxed him a bit or some one in the team must have talked to him to use some power. Hopefully this will do good for him.

      • G6O says:

        If he can provide a warm body in midfield (and rest for Xavi/Iniesta/Cesc) without this resulting in loss of points, he will have contributed significantly.

        But I simply don’t see Barca first-11 quality in him.

        Same goes for Tello – this is not a nice thing to say but he simply does not seem to have the football intelligence and skill to be a starter against top competition. He has 2 moves to get past a defender – drag the ball to the left or to the right and try to outrun him – which is not sufficient at top level, and he does not have the vision to provide the kind of clever passes that disrupt a defense. And he has an awful first touch, which result in a lot of wasted opportunities – against Levante you get 7-8 of those in a game, and you score 3. Against RM you get one or two (remember that game in 2012) and you cannot afford to waste them.

        P.S. Imagine Messi providing those assists with Neymar on the wing – so sad we have hardly seen those two play together…

    • Jafri says:

      From wikipedia: “Sergio Martínez Ballesteros (born 4 September 1975) is a Spanish retired footballer who played as a central defender. He started and finished his 19-year professional career with Levante,”

  24. Leckan1 says:

    “Second, Real share their players’ image rights, which allows them to profit for example from BL’s latest underwear edition.”

    How come we don’t do that if I’m not wrong. If they can why can’t we? We have some of the most marketable players in the world.

  25. georgjorge says:

    Another not-so-good game from us. Lots of little errors that don’t happen when the players are fully focused, lots of misunderstandings. Only Messi, Tello, Adriano and Pedro seemed to be their usual selves. It speaks for the individual quality of the team that we STILL won it 4-1. I wonder if it is all part of the form curve and Tata just wants the team to peak later on in the season…?

  26. Ultraculé says:

    Been away for a bit. A few things:

    – First off, I want to express my delight at the way Tata Martino has got his forwards firing and brimming with confidence. Even under the leadership of St. Pep, I doubt we would have got the kind of distribution we have now, halfway through the season. All five of our forwards have registered hat tricks of their own. Messi, Alexis, Pedro, Tello, Neymar. This is a truly encouraging stat.

    – On the Nou Camp Nou. As a Cule, I recognize that there are several things that can be improved in our stadium, not to mention the revenue benefits we would enjoy from a swanky renovation. That said, I don’t buy Rosell’s claim for one second, that this is not going to affect our sporting project and needs. There is no way. I am pretty sure that it already has, in a way. As a Romantic too, I would detest the idea of a sponsor being suffixed to our stadium name. We are Barcelona and while we may have sold our soul already in several ways, that is no excuse to go all the way.

    – On the Neymar case. This is truly worrisome. A lot of us have suspected for long, that there were some shady and dicey processes in the Neymar deal. Anyways, I will wait for the official verdict before expressing my paranoia on the repercussions if found guilty.

    • lea_terzi says:

      Not to take anything away from Tello’s hattrick, but there were defender and goalkeeper mistakes involved that are unlikely to happen at the higher level of competition.
      Tello, Montoya and Sergi Roberto have proven useful this year to spell the starters, put away weaker teams, provide fresh legs, and also because they are young, homegrown and do not get unsettled and cause trouble due to lack of playing time. At the moment, all of them look too one-dimensional and not skilled enough to ever break into our best 11, but then, so did Bartra last year, and decent squad players are important.
      However, due to the tired legs of our starters who have competed for everything in the last five years, age creeping up, football tactics, midfield construction and youth development evolving around Europe, and Tata showing that yes, successful rotation is not a myth – it’s past time to bring more top young talent in, especially in midfield and defense. Yes, it’s difficult to break into our first 11, but our first 11 can no longer play all the games, and the drop-off if someone is injured or needs rest should not be this huge.
      We definitely have space in rotation for a top young center back, a right back who could eventually replace Dani, and a central midfielder to share minutes with Xavi and continue the evolution of our system. But such players are few and far in between, the competition for them is fierce (Real, PSG, Bayern and Man City throw big money at guys like Varane, Marquinhos, Nastasic, Pogba, Verratti, Javi Martinez, Casemiro, Illaramendi, Thiago, hoping to build a talented core for years to come), and they want to play. We can’t compete financially or in terms of playing time, so our hope lies in the lure of Barca legend and legendary players to learn from (that drew Alexis and Neymar), or that somebody from the youth teams explodes and is loyal enough to wait for his chance. It will be interesting to see what happens in the summer.

    • Peter says:

      Well, The club has no problem to reduce the net debt position by up to 50 million per year, while having up to 40 million for transfers, regardless of outgoing transfer income. IF everything stays the same politically, then in 2016 a new, improved sponsor deal could be signed, and a new, maybe slightly improved TV contract would start to be applied. As a matter of fact the price of the season tickets could be unfrozen, which could generate additional income.

      As long as transfer profligacy is not the order of the day, of course. For example Henrique, Hleb, Keirrison, Caceres and Txigrinskiy had a combined cost of around 76 million Euro, or 0.75 Bale. As of this moment the only transfer profligacy I’ve seen have been the 7.9m for “first choice rights” for the three Santos academy players. Somehow I’m reluctant to believe that each one of them is more talented than say Denis Suarez.

  27. Kxevin says:

    New post up, in the “Holy shit!” category.

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