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Tuesday’s inauguration of FC Barcelona’s American headquarters in New York City — officially set for 5.30pm ET (11.30pm CET) — is the main event of the Club’s first 48 hours in the Big Apple. As such, it is being accompanied by a host of other institutional, social, and community-based events. Among the big items on the agenda was a private businesspersons lunch hosted by the Club and headed by Vice President Manel Arroyo, which was attended by executives from some of the most important companies in the United States. The site chosen was none other than 21 Club, the famous Midtown restaurant long popular among the city’s corporate leaders.
Fittingly, 21 Club dressed up for the occasion, clothing the iconic cast iron jockeys that adorn the balcony above the restaurant’s entrance staircase in FC Barcelona jerseys. It was the first time the mini statues had ever worn anything other than their traditional, painted on silks.
Cars and pedestrians paused as they passed in front, snapping selfies and keepsake photos of the Blaugrana-clad jockeys.
Inside the restaurant, representatives of some of the corporate world’s most renowned firms snacked, sipped wine, and socialized. There were executives from Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, CAA, Van Wagner, KPMG, Telefónica, Abertis, beIN Sports, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Johnson & Johnson, RCA Records, and Clyde & Co., among others.
The place settings made a huge impact on those in attendance, who sat down at tables with names like Messi, Neymar, Suárez, Piqué, Iniesta and Busquets.
A large mural loomed above, adorned with the day’s most popular catchphrase “Barça Loves NY.”
Mr. Arroyo, the Club’s VP of Marketing and Communications, was accompanied by Francesco Calvo, the Club’s Chief Revenue Office, and Arno Trabesinger, the Director of FC Barcelona’s New York office.
“Barça’s goal is to solidify its status as a leader in world football while continuing to succeed on the field and on the balance sheet with a sustainable project, while also maintaining its social commitment to helping the world’s children,” Arroyo told those on hand.
“Barça is in the USA to learn,” he continued. “The very best of the worldwide sports industry is here, and that’s one of the very reasons Barça is as well.”
The Club’s desire to promote the game of football and its own values among the country’s youth is unwavering, he added.
Mr. Trabesinger spoke about the timing of Barça’s arrival in the United States.
“We come to New York at a moment of great expansion in the sport of football in the United States, as well as a wonderful moment, economically speaking, for world football,” he said.
Mr. Trabesinger, the Director of the new office, also explained how important the new expansion was for the FC Barcelona Foundation, its social programs, and the opening of new football schools that teach children to play the Barça way and foment the values the Club holds so dear.
As he wrapped up his presentation, Mr. Trabesinger also spoke of other areas the Club considers just as important — promoting women’s football and its growth as a professional sport, and the Club’s future plans for expansion through other offices to be located throughout the world.
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