Aug 04, 2009 at 12:22 PM
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MSFT Kicking Around FC Barca Sponsorship?

Is Bill Gates hooked on the global game of soccer? Microsoft may be eyeing a deal with FC Barcelona, according to reports by spanish news outlet, Catalunya InformaciĆ³. The paper says the software giants are in ongoing sponsorship talks with Barca while the squad is touring the USA, which visits Seattle's Qwest Field on Wednesday for a match with MLS' Seattle Sounders. The tour included a match with the LA Galaxy at the Rose Bowl last Saturday and a visit to Chivas De Guadalajara on August 8th.

"On this tour we have held several meetings with some very important company directors. Some of them are looking to settle forms of sponsoring FC Barcelona this very year," said the club's VP of Marketing Jaume Ferrer.

In late 2006, Barcelona announced a historic five year shirt sponsorship with UNICEF at the time promising to donate their shirt "to the children of the world." As part of the deal, Barcelona gives $1.9 Million to UNICEF to help with UNICEF's humanitarian efforts. The shirt branding was the first in the club's 100+ year history. Barcelona FC defeated Manchester United, who recently signed AON to a shirt sponsorship, in this year's UEFA Champion's League final.

"We know that a large part of the club's growth in recent years has been because of the international market, so we are working hard to position the brand in the global market," said Ferrer.

On the team's tour itinerary, a visit to Microsoft headquarters later today in Redmond, Washington. If agreed to, the deal could be worth close to $3 million per year.