Barcelona will have a new name on the front of their jerseys from the start of the 2017-18 season with Rakuten becoming their new sponsor as part of an initial four-year deal worth an estimated €220 million.
Founded in 1997, Rakuten are the largest eCommerce company in Japan, and started expanding outside their home country in 2005 and are eager to further expand their worldwide reach through one of La Liga's biggest names.
"As FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner, Rakuten is set to power our global brand strategy and, as FCB’s first-ever Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner, we are looking to bring the collective power of our brands like Viber, Wuaki, Ebates, Kobo, and PriceMinister to build an innovation framework that will deliver innovative solutions and services to fans, members and players," said Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc.
Rakuten will replace Qatar Airways as the main sponsor of Barcelona, having taken on the role in 2013. Qatar Airways extended their deal at the end of the 2015-16 season for an additional year.
"I am very excited about joining the Barça community as I have personally followed the team for decades and have long admired their unique playing style and professionalism, their commitment to success and their culture of nurturing young talent – all values we share at Rakuten."