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For the second year running, FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has given a video conference from the Camp Nou to an MBA class at Harvard Business School where, among other matters, he described the successful way in which the club has combined its global dimension with its local roots and the key factors behind the club’s growth in recent years, with a priority focus on the international market.

During his one and a half hour lecture, he spoke of how “we hope to become the most admired, cherished and global club in the world.” These aims, he says, can be achieved by focusing efforts on the following core areas: Sporting Excellence, Social Commitment and Impact, Espai Barça, Global Recognition and Financial Sustainability. Bartomeu also pointed out that the target is to achieve turnover of one thousand million by 2021, revenue that he says “must come from the international market”.

The talk forms part of an in-depth case study being conducted by the Harvard students of the Catalan club and its distinctive characteristics. As the president himself said “the owners of the club are the members, and it is this model that makes us so unique. It enables the owners to make decisions, and not just with their heads, but with their hearts as well.”

American ambitions

Bartomeu also discussed the importance of the North American market and the growth of the football industry in the United States, which is why the club recently opened a permanent headquarters in New York. “Thanks to this office, as well as seeking business opportunities, we want to get closer to our fans, and we want to do that through the FCBEscola soccer schools and our Foundation’s projects”. The Barça president added that one of the plans for the future is the creation of a women’s soccer team and a futsal team to compete in the US league system.

Proud moment

After the event had concluded, Bartomeu described the experience by saying that “I feel proud that our club has drawn the interest of Harvard business school. But it isn't a total surprise, because in the last 25 years, with players like Ronaldinho and Messi, we have become a universal club and students everywhere in the world are interested in us.”

“But being Harvard business school, one of the top universities in the world, it's something we have to be proud of … We have to share our knowledge and teach them how we do it, and that will oblige us to continue reviewing our protocols and what we do and to do it better.”

“We are very well known in the United States” he concluded. “But students want to know how we did it, and how we will continue.”

Intense relationship with Harvard

Since last season, the relationship between FC Barcelona and Harvard University has grown stronger. The prestigious American university produced a case of study about the international success of Barça, and the ties are expected to intensify through the activitiesof FCB Universitas.

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