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FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was one of the most distinguished speakers at the opening day of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the biggest trade fair in the world in the sector, and which is being held at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via in Barcelona from February 27 to March 2. Bartomeu gave a speech in which he explained the role of FC Barcelona in the development of sport through knowledge and innovation in the form of the Barça Innovation Hub, a strategic project that FC Barcelona will be presenting on March 22 in the Auditori 1899 on the Camp Nou premises.

In front of 1,200 people that packed auditorium number 1 at the MWC, the president said that FC Barcelona “is and wants to continue to be more than a club”, and aims to generate a positive impact on society beyond the realm of sport. That is why the club has set up the Barça Innovation Hub project, the goal of which is to “help to transform the world through sporting excellence, using knowledge and innovation”.

Barça Innovation Hub, stressed Bartomeu, is based on the desire to share all the knowledge that the club has generated in recent years in all areas related to sport, and has enabled the development of specific projects, such as personal hydration and nutrition programmes, individualised physical recovery programmes, projects like Espai Barça and the Ciutat Esportiva, designed with criteria of maximum efficiency and respect for the environment, or the use of big data for fan analysis and management. “Projects designed for elite athletes, but that from now on the general public will also be able to benefit from”, in Bartomeu’s words.

Sharing knowledge

Barça Innovation Hub, aside from promoting knowledge and innovation, also aims to share it “to create great value for the Club and for society. We want to construct an ecosystem to promote knowledge and innovation, an open culture of collaboration, working strictly with leading brands, universities, research centres and emerging businesses around the world. We want to take advantage of collective intelligence and individual talent to implement a culture of continual improvement.”

Bartomeu continued: “The Barça Innovation Hub wants to be the number one centre of sporting innovation in the world. It will create a relevant impact on the sports industry and related industries, creating new products and services, attracting the best international talent and ultimately contributing to the future of sport in the world via innovation and knowledge.”

In his speech, the blaugrana president also explained the reasons for which FC Barcelona is the club that believes it is capable of leading this transformation of the sporting world. “We have a brand that has a global impact and we are in one of the most attractive cities in the world” he said. “We always have to be in a winning position, something which obliges us to be at the forefront of knowledge and innovation. Barça is already a leader amongst sports organisations with regards to talent and knowledge. That is what makes us different.”

Barça Innovation Hub works in five areas of knowledge: medical services and nutrition, sports performance, team sports, technology and social science. All are developed in four areas of action: the incorporation of knowledge and the creation of knowledge, the transmission of knowledge via the FCB Universitas platform and innovation with the development of new products, services and experience to “create value not just for FC Barcelona but also for other sports, markets and industries.” The Barça president ended his talk by inviting those in attendance to find out more about the project when Barça Innovation Hub is officially presented at Camp Nou on 22 March.

Visit to Oppo and Etisalat stands

Before his appearance, Bartomeu paid a visit to the club sponsors that are attending the Mobile World Congress. Joined by directors Dídac Lee and Oriol Tomàs, the manager of the Global Business Area, Francesco Calvo, and the manager of the Hong Kong office, Xavier Asensi, he visited Oppo, the Chinese mobile phone company that has signed a sponsorship deal with the club, where he was welcomed by the company’s vice-president for the Chinese market, Alen Wu, and its global vice-president and MD of international business, Sky Li

The Barça entourage than went to visit Etisalat, the telecoms corporation from the United Arab Emirates, where they were received, among others, by its CEO Saleh Alabdooli and its international CEO Hatem Dowidar.

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