Barcelona won't play violent esports, UEFA partners with Disney and Juventus extend Allianz deal

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This week saw news that the Blaugrana are playing it safe with esports and Disney characters will be used to get more girls into football

Goal rounds up the top business stories of the week from Soccerex, including Barcelona choosing to opt-out of violent esports, UEFA partnering with Disney to inspire young girls and Juventus extending their partnership with Allianz...

Barcelona won't play violent esports

Josep Maria Bartomeu, President of Barcelona, has said the Spanish champions will not participate in esports titles they deem to be too violent.

The club made their first inroads into competitive gaming in 2018 after joining the eFootball.Pro league, competed on Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) title. The Catalan club further expanded their esports presence by signing a team to compete in Rocket League in April last year.

However, Bartomeu has cooled talk of mass Barca expansion into the esports sector by specifically ruling out games that incorporate violence, believing it does not fit the club’s brand.

Speaking to Radio Marca, the 57-year-old said: “We have teams in Asia that compete with the colours of Barca but because of our values ​​we don't want to participate in violent games, which are 80 per cent.”

Though Bartomeu did not mention any specific games, a look at the esports landscape shows the popularity of first-person shooters such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty. However, titles such as League of Legends or Fortnite, which qualify as ‘strategy’, are apparently acceptable and could be the focus of the club’s work in that area, according to Palco23.

The Spanish business outlet reports that Barca are looking at securing a partnership with a Chinese esports team in the coming months. The club are apparently seeking to franchise their brand to an existing property in order to enter the largest global gaming market with a solid foundation.

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UEFA and Disney launch women's football project

UEFA and Disney have announced a partnership based around a new grassroots women’s youth football project.

The Playmakers Scheme will use coaching sessions inspired by Disney films and featuring its characters to provide a pathway into the sport for girls aged between five and eight.

It represents one of the first major initiatives launched by UEFA since it revealed its 'Time for Action' women’s football strategy in 2019, aiming to double women’s football participation by 2024.

The pan-European scheme comes partly as a result of a knowledge-transfer agreement between UEFA and the Football Association (FA), which currently runs a similar Shooting Stars project in partnership with Disney.

UEFA’s Head of Women’s Soccer, Nadine Kessler, said: “Playmakers can attract girls who might not have had any contact with football at all, or might be generally not very active.

“Our ultimate goal is, first of all, to get them active and to learn different kinds of movement before the football comes in. But we would be very, very happy if the girls are that inspired and that in love with the game that they wish to continue their route.”

Nicole Morse, Disney’s Vice President of Integrated Marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), added: “By using our much-loved characters and stories as a force for good, we can really make a difference and inspire families and children to be more active.”

Juventus stick with Allianz until 2030 in €103m deal

Juventus and global insurance giant Allianz have extended and expanded their sponsorship arrangement until 2030 in a deal worth €103m (£86m/$112m).

The new terms of the contract will see the Allianz logo feature on the Serie A club’s training and warm-up shirts for the next ten years. The Munich-headquartered company will also gain sponsorship rights for Juve’s women’s team.

In addition, the agreement ensures that Allianz will retain the naming rights to the Turin-based club’s Allianz Stadium for another seven seasons when the current deal expires. The pair signed a six-year contract in 2017 which runs out in July 2023.

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Giorgio Ricci, Juventus’ Chief Revenue Officer, said: “This agreement, which defines a wider perimeter of rights, will be visible every day on the training field and during match days, and it will also allow us to say with certainty that our stadium will be an Allianz venue until 30th June 2030.”

Commenting on the extended deal with Juve, Allianz Chief Executive Giacomo Campora added: “As of today, our partnership with Juventus has become even more solid, lasting and relevant at a national and international level.

“Not only have we extended the naming rights agreement with this top football club for the Allianz Stadium until 2030, but we have identified numerous additional sponsorship solutions that will associate the Allianz brand to the first team, as well as making an important commitment with the club’s women's sector.”