On the evening the team begin their UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign, FC Barcelona has announced an agreement with the multi-national food producer, Bimbo Group, to become the main partner of the women’s first team. In promoting a healthy lifestyle and balanced nutrition they also have made a shared commitment to female empowerment.
The Catalan club which has always portrayed itself as Més que un club (More Than a Club) is now striving to demonstrate its women’s team can also become a reference point for girls around the world. Its “More Than Empowerment” choreography displayed by a world-record crowd of over 91,000 people at Camp Nou in March has become one of the defining sporting images of the year and the club are eager to pursue sponsorship agreements which fit into this lofty ethos.
The deal was announced at an official presentation attended by the women’s team nutritionist, Mireia Porta and first-team players, Jana Fernández, Salma Paralluelo and the recently-crowned Ballon D’Or winner, Alexia Putellas in which they emphasized the importance of breaking down pre-established barriers about women in sport.
The Bimbo logo will be displayed on the women’s team shirt sleeves starting from tonight during their opening Champions League tie at home to Portuguese champions, SL Benfica. As part of the agreement, the Bimbo Group will also work on the promotion of new talents through a collaboration with the club’s fabled training center, La Masia, and the gateway into that, the Barça Academy, the club’s international schools project.
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The term of the deal has not been specified but it is reported to be worth €3.5m ($3.42) and is part of FC Barcelona’s strategy to double its income from sponsorship this season and the make the women’s section of the club self-sufficient. This summer, the club broke the world transfer record for a women’s player in signing Keira Walsh from Manchester City for around €600,000 ($568,040).
Together, the partnership aims to promote habits that contribute to a greater well-being and to build a more sustainable environment. They also hope to break down the stereotypes that still exist around women’s figures. The deal comes two months after the club announced a parallel agreement with plant-based food company, Huera Foods, in which a vegan menu will be offered during matches at the club’s home stadium.
Founded in 1945 in Mexico City, Bimbo is now established in 33 different countries and has an annual sales volume of $15 billion. The company has a firm commitment to sustainability with four strategic pillars focused on reducing its carbon footprint by relying on 100% renewable energy by 2025, minimizing its consumption of water, eliminating waste by using 100% recyclable packaging by 2025 and maintaining biodiversity with sustainable agricultural programs. The firm has previously been a shirt sponsor of several Mexican teams, Costa Ricans Deportivo Saprissa and the Major League Soccer sides, Chivas USA and, currently, Philadelphia Union.
Rosa Alabau, a global senior director of Bimbo Group said “this agreement adds to the multiple global and local initiatives that the group already carries out to promote the development of female talent. Through this alliance, Grupo Bimbo will carry and amplify the message of equality at a global level, thanks to the recognition and influence that FC Barcelona has in the world, leveraging the talent and example of its women’s team.”
The Vice-President of FC Barcelona’s marketing department, Juli Guiu said “this agreement is an historic milestone, since it is the first time that our first women’s soccer team will have a partner up its sleeve, a new step forward in equalizing women’s and men’s sports. Together we will also work on promoting an active and healthy life among our fans.”
“For all these reasons, I am proud to say that we are starting a new stage together with Grupo Bimbo, which will allow us to continue consolidating our motto of ‘More than a Club’, which reflects our recognition of the power that sport has to change the world.”