Spanish giants FC Barcelona have confirmed a whopping new R3.4 billion shirt sponsorship deal with a Japanese company.
The La Liga champions announced the new mega deal, which will replace the current contract with Qatar Airways, on Wednesday.
The new deal with Rakuten will earn Barcelona €55 million (R844 million) plus bonus payments over the next four seasons, starting from the 2017/18 campaign.
"The deal began at a dinner hosted by Gerard Piqué at (Rakuten chairman) Hiroshi Mikitani's house in San Francisco in 2015,” said club president Josip Maria Bartomeu during a launch event.
"Rakuten is a young and modern digital technology company that has a desire to grow."
The new deal puts Barca in second place in kit sponsorship deals behind Manchester United’s record deal with Chevrolet, worth €75 million (R1.15 billion) per season.
"It is a 4-year deal worth €55 million annually plus incentives of €1.5 million for La Liga and €5 million for Champions League titles,” Barca’s vice-president, responsible for marketing and media added.
"Rakuten is a company that shares our values of innovation and global ambition."
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is one of the world's leading internet services companies. Founded in Japan in 1997, it offers a wide variety of services for consumers and businesses with a focus on e-commerce, finance and digital content.
What do you make of Barca’s new sponsorship deal and the fact that Pique helped to kick-start it? Have your say in the comments section below.