October 31st, 2014


Real Madrid agree ‘strategic partnership’ with Abu Dhabi’s IPIC.

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez announced last month that the club's income had surged to €604m. Photograph: Emilio Naranjo/EPA

Real Madrid have agreed a long-term strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) which it expects will strengthen the club’s status as the world’s richest and also help fund a planned stadium overhaul.

Both parties have agreed not to divulge the length or the value of the deal, IPIC said.

The agreement includes setting up Real museums and expanding the club’s global footprint of football schools, as well as creating content for digital-media platforms, IPIC, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government, said on their website on Tuesday.

“The commercial arrangements will enable Real Madrid to meet one of its most fundamental future challenges, to convert the [Bernabéu] stadium into the best sporting venue in the world,” it added.

Real became the first football club to amass annual revenues of more than €500m (£394m) in the 2011-12 season and the president Florentino Pérez announced last month that income had surged to €604m in 2013-14.

Last year the European champions agreed a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with the Dubai-based airline Emirates which Spanish media reported was worth €30m a season.

Real have chosen a design led by the German architect GMP for the remodelling of the Bernabéu, which was opened in the 1950s and holds just over 80,000 spectators, at an estimated cost of €400m.

The club hopes the work, which would see a striking new roof and exterior added to the structure and include a hotel and a shopping centre, can be completed by 2017.

However, a Madrid court has thrown the plans into doubt by ruling that a deal between Real and the Madrid council, which would allow land adjacent to the stadium to be incorporated into the project, should be suspended because the European Commission is examining it for possible illegal state aid.

Spanish media have speculated that IPIC may buy the naming rights for the revamped arena and Pérez said the deal announced on Tuesday marked “the start of a long journey and the beginning of a strong partnership”.

“It will no doubt prove to be vital for meeting one of our biggest challenges: turning the Santiago Bernabéu stadium into one of the best stadiums in the world, into a unique architectural landmark for the city of Madrid and a symbol of innovation for our country,” Pérez, a construction magnate, said. “As of today, IPIC will become a key partner that shares our values and will help us promote and strengthen the Real Madrid brand throughout every continent.

“From now on, as one of our most important sponsors, they will be instrumental in carrying out a series of crucial projects for Real Madrid’s future.”

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