Futbol Club Barcelona: Globalization Opportunities

By Antonio Davila, George Foster, Jaume Llopis
2007 | Case No. SPM33
In 2006, Futbol Club Barcelona (FC Barcelona) was one of the world’s premier soccer teams. Founded in 1899, the club had experienced ups and downs over its history. Following some great years in the mid-1990s, the club had suffered a decline both financially and in its on-field performance, leading to a crisis in 2003. The case traces the causes of this decline, and the actions taken by club management to restore the team’s competitive and financial positions. Areas discussed include: governance, organization structure, management, fan experience, media, marketing and merchandizing, the club’s social initiatives, and developing the club brand. The case discusses the global development of European soccer, and FC Barcelona’s efforts outside of Europe. The challenge in 2006 was to strengthen, position, and monetize the FC Barcelona brand globally. Opportunities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are discussed, but the case focuses on Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States, and whether or not FC Barcelona should purchase an MLS club in order to expand into the United States market.
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