Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona, Clubs, Gerard Piqué, Spanish Primera División, Story


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Barcelona will speak with Gerard Pique about his involvement in a documentary which saw Antoine Griezmann reject an offer from the La Liga champions, but Victor Font believes it is the type of innovative thinking the club should embrace themselves.

Font, who hopes to succeed Josep Maria Bartomeu as president at the Barcelona’s next elections, says the club need to seek new ways to keep up with the ever-richer world of football. 

Looking at the Pique situation from different perspective, Font feels Barca have wasted the “best-ever generation of footballers” by failing to lead the way with similar, insightful content during the last decade.

“[The Griezmann documentary] is very much that sort of thing which the club should be doing,” Font told ESPN FC when asked what he means when he accuses Barca of “missing an opportunity” to take advantage of the talent they have had this decade.

“Not that particular example, mind, because you play with emotions, but you can come up with creative content that can be very appealing to people and that people may be willing to pay for.

“That should be the club doing it, not one of the players or an external company. Obviously, an external company can also do the same, but on things that relate to the club — and therefore the club has control over — that’s where innovation should happen.”

Font will run to become president of Barcelona at the next elections in 2021, although his chance to replace Bartomeu may come earlier if the elections are brought forward, as is often the case.

He says there would be no perfect solution to creating content should he become president.

“No one has the magic formula just yet,” Font added. “It could be content which is open and made public — you just need to register on social media and so on — that is well-packaged and properly thought through.

“Or [it could be] easy to produce content, like behind the scenes material that maybe with some creativity you can come up with and someone on a subscription-based model would be paying €5 for per year.

“And now, seeing partnerships between clubs and production companies, like Netflix and Amazon, creating documentaries, short pieces of film… This could be interesting.

“Obviously, if Amazon does this, they’ll try to get the lion’s share of the money. But it’s about being proactive, taking some initiative and seeing how you can benefit the club. This is the type of innovation which technology allows you to do.”

The opportunity for innovation extends to business too, Font believes.

“It’s not only content, either,” he said. “[It’s about] re-thinking the business model even though the club has done well: they’re still top three every year [in revenue] as they grow and exploit the traditional model.

“They’ve opened a very small presence in Asia and the U.S. to try and sign regional sponsorship deals. But that has a limit; that has a cap. What has exponential growth potential is going direct to consumer because you have 400 or 500 million fans around the world. If you sell €5 a year [to each of them], that’s €2.5 billion.”

Font, who works in the telecoms, media and technology industries, believes it will be essential for Barcelona to make these changes and to lead the way if they want to continue competing in the post-Lionel Messi era.

“You need people on the board that know about the industry of entertainment, technology, digital, so that this business-to-business to business-to-business-consumer transformation becomes a reality and we can come up with innovative models and so on,” he says. “It’s like building a board for one of the top entertainment companies in the world.”

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.





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