FC Barcelona have been in a financial bind for a number of years. The gravity of the crisis became more evident this summer, after the club failed to retain the services of Lionel Messi. However, recent reports show that the Argentine's departure will result in even more financial setbacks for the club. As early as now, the repercussions are evident in the number of shirts Barcelona have had to return to Nike.
Yesterday, Messi's image was stripped from the massive murals that were painted outside the Camp Nou. Soon after, the shirts with Messi's name and number were also removed from the club's official merchandise stores. Prior to the player's departure, the shelves were filled with Messi's no. 10 shirts for the 2021/22 season.
According to Spanish publication Marca, at least eight out of ten FC Barcelona shirts that are sold are printed with Messi's name and number. As such, a significant volume of these shirts were printed ahead of the season opener. Alas, despite promises from club president Joan Laporta that he will be able to find a way for Messi to stay with the club, he was unsuccessful.
Nike is now left with thousands of shirts with Messi's name on them even though he is now officially a Paris Saint-Germain player. It is unclear what Nike will do with the shirts, but they won't be happy with the development.
Furthermore, the fact that Messi has historically brought in 80% of shirt sales will surely make an impact that will be felt by Barcelona's accountants. The club is hoping that new signings like Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay will augment those sales, but let's face it, even combined, those two players do not have nearly as much star power as the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Messi's shirt sales brought in an estimated income of about 20-30 million euros a year. Those are only for the shirts. The Argentine also helps sell tickets and numerous other items from the merchandise store.
Barcelona will have to weather the storm, and they will be hoping that their new stars will shine on the pitch. If they win silverware this season, the club's overall value will rise and the players will also bring in more revenue depending on how well they perform.
It will be an uphill battle for the club to recover, even though they have freed themselves from Messi's salary moving forward.