With the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar on the squad, FC Barcelona is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most popular soccer clubs around the world. Now the popular sports team has new digs in the unofficial capital of the world – New York City.
The new offices, which opened on Park Avenue on Tuesday, follows the club’s success in its Asian market push after inaugurating offices in Hong Kong two years ago.
“To be in New York is one step to be in the moment where soccer is growing is so fast in a market that is the No. 1 in the world,” Manel Arroyo, fourth vice president area of marketing and communication, told Fox News Latino on Wednesday. “We have many things to do here, to be part of the sponsoring market, and we want to share with the soccer world in the U.S. our experience and our knowledge in the sport.”
He added: “Having our brand in the U.S. helps also to learn a lot (about sports) here in the U.S.”
The Park Avenue hub will act as a “commercial hub for generating new revenue and implementing the strategic plan for the 2016-2021 period.” The office will search for sponsors that will grow the brand past the club’s European borders.
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“We’ve seen that in the last decade, futball, soccer in the U.S. is significant,” Arroyo said. “The performance of the women’s team, the performance of the World Cup in the networks means that the interest of soccer is growing.”
Josep Maria Bartomeu, the club’s president, told Barca TV that the club wants to tap into the growing fan-base and passion for the women’s game to boost its profile in the U.S. He explained that one of the targets to create a team franchise that will be part of the growing National Women’s Soccer League as well as a futsal – indoor soccer – team to compete in local leagues.
Arroyo, who will run the New York office, stressed that apart from the sporting matters that the club will launch, they will also focus on the club’s education and charity work through their FCB Escola soccer school network. The Spanish club already has school programs, FCB Escola, in Florida and another one is expected to open in Charlotte, North Carolina in the next couple of days.
“Soccer is the only main sport with a global presence,” Arroyo said. “(And) it’s an emotional moment to see our flags outside of the building and that the club has been so welcomed in New York. It’s wonderful.”
The Catalan soccer club is not the first elite European club to expand to the United States. German champions Bayern Munich opened its own New York-based headquarters two years ago.
On Wednesday evening, the Empire State Building will don the Barcelona colors in honor of the new offices.