Barcelona will shut down the television channel Barca TV at the end of the season, the club said in a statement on Thursday.
Sources told ESPN the cost-cutting act was related to making savings across the board to free up money to invest in the playing squad, although Barca did not give any official reasons for the closure.
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Over 120 employees, including presenters, journalists and camera operators, will lose their jobs when the current contract with Telefonica, the company who oversee the running of the channel, expires at the end of June.
A source says Barca are still deciding how to best economise in-house content production moving forward.
The Catalan club also still own 51% of Barca Studios, which has produced documentaries in the past but is also focused on blockchain, NFT, digital assets and Web3 strategies.
Barca sold 49% of Barca Studios to two investors last summer for a total of €200 million to help fund the signings of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde.
To be able to turn to the transfer market again this year, Barca once again need to save as much as €200m — either through cutbacks or player transfers — to comply with LaLiga’s spending limit.
Sources say exhaustive work is being done to find ways to streamline the club’s spending, which led to the decision not to renew the contract with Telefonica to continue with Barca TV.
However, there is also an acknowledgment that the biggest savings will be made by freeing up space on the wage bill and bringing in transfer fees, with the club open to offers for several first team players.
ESPN revealed earlier this year that Barca already have a verbal agreement to sign defender Inigo Martinez as a free agent when his contract with Athletic Bilbao expires, while they are also in negotiations with Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who has not renewed his contract at the Etihad and would be also available for free in the summer.
Earlier on Thursday, Barca vice president Eduard Romeu explained how the club would repay the €1.45 billion financing they are taking out to fund the redevelopment of their iconic stadium.
Romeu said that the money would be repaid to the over 20 investors who will contribute the funding solely with the revenue generated from the revamped stadium.
“It is not a debt, it is a ‘Risk Project,'” Romeu said. “The financing will be paid off with the income obtained from the stadium. This project will not affect the club’s activity alone.”
Barca claim the regenerated Camp Nou will raise as much as €347m annually, with revenue increasing through meetings and events, hospitality, ticketing and catering, the museum, sponsorship and naming rights.
President Joan Laporta said the stadium will be the best in the world when finished and that the funding raised proved the club is “alive” after several seasons of financial struggles.
“This is the most important institutional project in the club’s history,” he said. “It fulfils a dream at Barca. We are going to have the best stadium in the world.
“The project is also proof of the faith in Barcelona. It means that the institution is more alive than ever and that national and international markets have full confidence in us. Barca have been reinforced.”