Today FC Barcelona, the current Spanish La Liga football champions, announced two financial deals. The club landed a €120 million deal for a 29.5% stake in its web3 entity Barça Vision from listed LIBERO football finance (€40m) and private investors advised by NIPA Capital BV. Additionally FC Barcelona plans to list Barça Media in a U.S. SPAC deal valuing the entity at $1 billion.
Barça Media is an umbrella group that does not include the lucrative TV sports rights. It incorporates three parts:
- Barça eSports
- Barça Vision, the web3 and metaverse division, including deals with Roblox and Unity
- Barça Studios, which develops and licenses audiovisual entertainment content other than sports TV rights, such as a Netflix behind the scenes TV series.
“This step we are taking now is a strategic move that provides us with new resources to continue growing at a time when the demand for digital sports content is clearly expanding reinforcing the path of digital transformation started in 2022”, said Joan Laporta, President of FC Barcelona.
The football club has done well to attract the €120 million web3 investment, given OneFootball recently canned its web3 deal with Serie A. However, only half of it is fresh money for the club.
This time last year, the web3 unit attracted €200 million in investment, half from fan token company Socios, and the other half from Orpheus Media, each acquiring a 24.5% stake. €60 million of today’s investment is partly buying out Socios and Orpheus.
However, according to the regulatory filing for the SPAC merger with Mountain & Co. I Acquisition Corp, these four web3 investors will become shareholders in the Barça Media holding company. So while LIBERO and the NIPA investors are putting money into the web3 division, that’s only an interim step given their interest will be converted to shares in the broader group.
Meanwhile, FC Barcelona has had a lot of ups and downs in web3. It originally inked an NFT deal in 2021 with unknown startup Ownix, but canned the transaction after the person that arranged the deal was arrested.
Eventually it launched its first creative NFTs in 2022. Fantasy football game Sorare also issues collectible player NFTs as part of its deal with La Liga. Plus, Socios has a long term contract for fan tokens.