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FC Barcelona’s Barça Innovation Hub and Digital Innovation (B): Covid Crisis as an Opportunity

Published 18 Jul 2022
Reference 6583
Topic Strategy
Region Global
Summary

The case describes how FC Barcelona’s Innovation Hub (BIH) helped the club generate revenues through digital means when Covid 19 struck, causing football stadiums and their merchandise outlets to close for months, with damaging financial consequences. Launched in 2017, the BIH allowed pitch performance to be combined with long-term strategic initiatives. By March 2020 (when Covid hit) it had created an end-to-end ecosystem that engaged with external partners through open innovation. Having tried to negotiate lower salaries with players but failed, the club was forced to find other solutions to fund its activities – through the BIH. In May 2022, FC Barcelona was voted the most innovative football team worldwide by the Sports Innovation Lab. That same year, the club announced a partnership with Spotify, the popular audio subscription streaming service, renaming its stadium Spotify Camp Nou – a first in bringing music and football together, giving players and artists a global stage and opportunities to connect with fans worldwide.

Teaching objectives

Case B focuses on how the Covid crisis provided an opportunity to innovate digitally. Together with Case A it covers (a) The professionalisation of football via sports science and player performance analysis; integrated player nutrition, health and wellness; in-play analytics; technology-enabled matchday and training optimisation; commercialisation of clubs as multinational brands. (b) Digital disruption; leveraging big data to understand and predict fans; applying CRM strategies to football fans; clubs as entertainment providers. c) Evolution of the arena – sports stadiums as ‘theme parks’ and economic hubs. (d) The importance of fans in emerging markets.

Keywords
  • Football
  • COVID 19
  • Digital Disruption
  • Innovation
  • Global Open Innovation
  • Social Impact
  • Spotify
  • Spain
  • Healthcare
  • Crisis Management
  • Pandemic
  • Fan Engagement
  • Q22022