European football clubs, FC Barcelona, Juventus FC, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain announced today the appointment of Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) as the clubs' Master Licensee for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Brazil and the rest of South America. The popularity of football in the U.S. continues to soar. Greater access to outstanding football matches from around the globe, along with an unprecedented number of pre-season tours by leading European club teams, has fueled the demand and the passion of millions of fans. For the first time ever, all sixty-four FIFA World Cup matches were broadcast live to millions of households. Several high-profile players including Ronaldinho, Rafael Marquez, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pedro Pauleta play for these highly-regarded European football clubs and were some of the biggest names during the recent World Cup. This new deal grants WBCP the rights to license, manufacture, distribute, promote and sell club-branded merchandise throughout the Americas. WBCP will utilize their creative licensing and merchandising expertise to develop a complete range of licensed products. The broad licensing program will include leisure apparel and accessories, toys and games, housewares and domestics, stationery, gifts and collectible items, among other key categories. "Football is developing so rapidly around the world and nowhere is that more obvious than in the Americas," said Esteve Calzada, CMO of FC Barcelona. "FC Barcelona is touring the States this summer and it is clear that there is massive support for Barca and other leading European clubs. We very much look forward to this exciting cooperation." "Juventus has always enjoyed the support of millions of fans in the Americas," said Jean-Claude Blanc, Chief Executive and General Manager, Juventus FC. "This agreement gives us the opportunity to develop our fan relationships even further." "Millions of fans in the Americas are following the Premier League and the best European football every week," said David Gill, CEO of Manchester United plc. "Manchester United has a huge following in the region and is keen to extend its reach in this increasingly important market for world football. We are delighted to be part of what is a very substantial initiative." "This is a huge step for Paris Saint-Germain and a big opportunity for us to develop and grow our club in the Americas," said Alain Cayzac, President of Paris Saint-Germain. "We are all aware of the increasing popularity of the game of football in the region and of the support there for the leading European teams. This agreement represents a big step forward for all four clubs." "WBCP has long been one of the most successful entertainment licensing enterprises and with our global infrastructure we have the unique ability to create a licensing and merchandising program that speaks directly to football fans," said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. "We're excited to work with great partners and apply our expertise and creativity to develop product that will expand the fan base of these highly successful football brands." Over the past three years, WBCP has forged new ground in the realm of football licensing, including representation of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Euro 2008(TM), the Mexico National Team and A.C. Milan, among others.
"These are prestigious clubs that we are adding to our already broad football portfolio," said Jordan Sollitto, Executive Vice President of International Licensing and New Business Initiatives, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "Football merchandising is a fast growing business for us and nowhere is the going-forward opportunity more exciting than right here in the United States. We intend to build the awareness and fan base of the clubs we represent just as we do for our movies and television shows all over the world."