BARCELONA Barcelona have agreed a sponsorship deal with Intel under which the chipmaker's logo will be printed on the inside of players' shirts, the Spanish champions announced on Thursday.
The idea behind the unusual positioning of the "Intel Inside" logo is that it will be revealed when a player lifts his shirt to celebrate scoring a goal, Barca officials told a news conference in the Catalan capital.
Players including Lionel Messi, Neymar and Andres Iniesta would be under no obligation to display the logo, which will be added to the shirts for the first time in Saturday's La Liga match at home to Villarreal, Manel Arroyo, a club director responsible for media and sponsorship, said.
Arroyo declined to reveal how much the deal - which runs for four and a half years and includes an option for an extension - was worth, saying it was "confidential".
Spanish media and Forbes magazine, without identifying the source of their information, reported Intel would pay Barca $25 million.
As part of their first foray into soccer sponsorship, Intel will also provide technology to players and coaching staff as well as the recruits at Barca's academy, officials said.
Deborah Conrad, Intel's chief marketing officer, said the decision to partner with Barca had been taken after a search for suitable "passion points" that the company hoped to tap into to help connect them with consumers.
Barca have one of the most active social media communities in sport as well as hundreds of millions of fans around the world, Conrad noted.
"We did not want to put the players under any obligation to show the logo a specific number of times but we do know that such goal celebrations are a big part of the culture of the sport," she told Reuters by telephone.
She also declined to reveal how much the deal was worth.
Barca's main sponsors include sporting goods manufacturer Nike, carmaker Audi, and the airline Qatar Airways, whose logo will remain on the outside of the players' shirts.
(Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, editing by Stephen Wood/Alan Baldwin)