By Barry Janoff
November 11, 2013: Barcelona FC, one of the most valuable sports clubs in the world, has renewed its alliance with Unicef through 2016, expanding upon a deal that began in 2006 and was due to expire in 2014.
The alliance includes Unicef — the United Nation's Children's Fund — receiving branding on the bottom rear of the team's jerseys.
Among other initiatives, Barcelona said it would donate 1.5 million euros a year (about $2 million U.S.) to joint projects with Unicef, which involve the promotion of education and sport among vulnerable children, as it had done under the previous alliance.
The extension comes as Barcelona revealed that Lionel Messi, arguably the top soccer player in the world, would miss 6-8 weeks due to a torn hamstring muscle in his left leg. Messi, the four-time reigning world player of the year, previously missed four weeks of action due to a bruised thigh and a muscle tear.
Messi was also in the news when he was named "captain" of the Samsung Galaxy 11 roster, being coached by soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, as part of a global marketing push in which the players will try to prevent an alien invasion.
Barcelona is the third most valuable sports franchise in the world, with an estimated worth $2.6 billion, of behind Real Madrid and Manchester United, according to Forbes.
Other Barcelona marketing partners include jersey-front sponsor Qatar Airways, Nike, Audi, Gatorade, Coca-Cola, Seiko, EA Sports and Panasonic.
According to Toni Freixa, spokesman and secretary for Barcelona, “We are very satisfied with this alliance."
Messi, even while he is off the field, will continue to "play" for the Galaxy 11. His initial commercial for the Samsung push shows him being chased through the streets and ultimately coming face-to-face with his pursuers, who turn out to be recruiters for the Galaxy 11. (See the full spot here.)
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