Madrid: Barcelona have said they are targeting expansion in the Latin American market after agreeing a sponsorship deal with telecommunications giant Telefonica.
The Spanish side announced on Monday that Telefonica had bought the club`s television rights for next season for a reported 140 million euros (£103.7 million, $159.3 million) ending an eight-year relationship with Mediapro which owns the rights to most other La Liga sides.
However, Barca will also receive 13.3 million euros for the next three seasons as a regional partner of Telefonica in Latin America with an option for the deal to be extended for another two years.
"The objective is to grow and create a stronger partnership in Latin America, a region that is key for the organisation`s global expansion, and where Barca at the moment have more than 50 million fans," the club said in a statement on their website on Wednesday.
As part of the agreement, Barcelona will play a friendly in South America for the next three years.
Barcelona boast three of the region`s most recognisable players amongst their squad in Argentina`s four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Brazilian captain Neymar and Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.
"One of the reasons why Telefonica have decided to take this step to join up with us is due to the players that we have," added Barca vice-president Javier Faus.
"We have the three players who form the most potent strike force in the world and that is very important for Telefonica.
"Telefonica allows us to reach more people, more places in the world and further afield. It is important for our growth that our content and our matches are seen by the maximum number of people in the world."
Barcelona slipped behind Manchester United and Bayern Munich into fourth place in financial consultants Deloitte`s annual Football Money League report last month due to limited commercial growth compared to their rivals at the top of the European game.
The announcement that broadcasters Sky and BT will pay £5.1 billion for the UK television rights to the Premier League from 2016-2019 has also led to fears that Barcelona and Real Madrid will struggle to compete with their English rivals for the world`s top players as they have done over the past decade.