A few days ago, the press reported that FC Barcelona had reached an agreement with Mediapro to take over the management of Barça TV. According to one source, newspaper Sport, the main reason behind this was, once again, to save money. The club was, until now, in charge of Barça TV’s content and management, all of which will now, as is intended, be assumed by Mediapro. According to Sport, this deal would ‘save’ Barça about 6 million euros per year.
Barça TV is a popular tv broadcaster in Catalunya and Spain. It is also available, at least partially, in many other countries, including around South America, where shows like “Promeses”, “Info Penyes” and “Porta 104″, among others, are helpful to understanding the core of the club: our players, our youth divisions and the groups of members known as “penyes”, which exist all over the world. Barça TV has been, as well as with other sports sections of the club, a powerful way to have the whole world of Barça communicated around the globe, helping fans and members make a deeper connection with the club.
Regarding these matters, Barça TV workers made a statement about the new deal with Mediapro. They not only fear for their jobs, as Mediapro have made severe cuts when they have taken over the management of Real Madrid TV and Gol TV in the past, but they also fear for the content quality. They believe this situation will lead to Barça’s communications department becoming divided up. They also fear that content will become completely managed by Mediapro, which would be a huge threat for what Barça needs to communicate about the club to the world.
Even though we have to wait and see, precedents are not good. Real Madrid TV, for example, is now just a shadow of Barça TV. But starting in a few months, they might become quite similar. Let’s hope not all of the board’s decisions are motivated by economical reasons in the future. From an economic point of view, certain assets, such as Barça TV, can become a valid platform to solidify the fan base around the world (and therefore, improve Barça’s brand position and help them add revenue), but this agreement it seems will shrink its capacity rather than expand it. So, from that angle, this deal might save 6 million euros, but might prevent the earning of some as well… and from a social point of view, Barça TV’s influence is incalculable. And that has value too, although our board seems not to know how to capitalize on it, the same as with the other sports sections.
Barça TV has also become the place where culés go to see the first images of and hear the first words from our new players, to hear emotional celebration speeches, and to learn about the stars of the future. I hope the board does not end this for purely economic reasons.