FC Barcelona is ’more than a club’. This rhetorical expression is a strong fundamental narrative refined through CSR (cf. the club’s ties to UNICEF) and the club’s winning performances on the pitch and its climb to one of the global market leaders in the business of sports.
Photo: FC Barcelona is ‘more than a club’ (source: FC Barcelona).
In providing comprehensive experiences for all stakeholders of the club whether that includes investors, sponsors, the media or its impressive number of global fans, the club has found it significant to wrap the core product offering, i.e. football on the pitch, in related side-events/experiences and a strong underlying narrative. In that sense, FC Barcelona’s history as a social and political institution plays a central role; this is also evident in relation to the club’s slogan ‘more than a club’. Catalonia’s fight for independence from the alleged chains of the central government in Madrid has been characterized by symbols of suppression. The determination to break out of these chains has been evident on the pitch in the vast number of rivalries against central powerhouse Real Madrid.
The Dutch super star Johan Cruyff joined FC Barcelona at the prime of his career in 1973 and this formed a happy marriage between the Dutch international and the Catalonian side, which he influenced very positively from the pitch as a player and later from the sideline as successful head coach of the notorious Dream Team. Cruyff became one of the most notably figures in FC Barcelona’s history (if not the most) and proved capable of leading the club to the domestic championship in his first season. Among other things, this title was secured via a spectacular 5-0 win against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu. Cruyff’s fine-tuned game intelligence mixed with a thorough understanding and exploitation of ‘total football’ has positioned him as one of the greatest in football history and his influential role for FC Barcelona has proved its sustainability in him leading the club as a player, coach, advisor (also guiding clubs like Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona to the remarkable handling of talent development) and mentor for one of the club’s recent club icons Josep Guardiola. Guardiola has Cruyff to thank for his path to become another hugely successful head coach for FC Barcelona that revolutionized the world of football and gave the club a dominant position in the postmodern football economy.
This post and the video below shows the importance of producing comprehensive experiences for sports fans based on a well-established legacy. This process involves all the club’s offerings. This includes factors like hospitality & good hosting, traditions & events, expansion of the game-day concept, segmentation, targeting & positioning, the influence of former, current and new generations of fans and the ability to interact with the postmodern sport economy’s fragmented media world and digital opportunities. However, all these offerings must be wrapped in an all-encompassing narrative that meets the hearts of stakeholders and creates an engaging appeal, which causes stakeholders to think and feel that they cannot live without this football club.
Video: FC Barcelona’s role as a social and political institution in Catalonia (source: Guardian).