Qatar Airways and FC Barcelona: A team that unites the world
Written by Karen Martin
Qatar Airways – world's 5-star airline – has come together with the world-famous football club as the clubs main sponsor in a partnership that sees many shared principles.
Football is a global phenomenon, and support for FC Barcelona has spread around the world. The club motto is més que un club – 'more than a club' – because it is the sports club that most represents the country and is also one of its greatest ambassadors. As Qatar's flagship airline, Qatar Airways understands what it is to represent its country and have a wide global reach.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker described the alignment with Barça as a fitting match for both organisations, with the two brands sharing the same values: they are both passionate about being the best at what they do in their respective fields.
"FC Barcelona is a club that exemplifies passion, pride, heritage and culture at its core. These are values we share, admire and are fundamental to Qatar Airways," said Al Baker.
Search for excellence
Barça are the current La Liga champions and the most successful club in Spain, having won a total of 63 domestic titles: 22 La Liga, and a record 26 Copa del Rey, ten Supercopa de España, three Copa Eva Duarte, and two Copa de la Liga.
The club is also one of the most successful clubs in international club football, having won 17 official trophies in total: four UEFA Champions League trophies, a record four UEFA Cup Winners' Cup wins, four UEFA Super Cup wins, a record three Inter-Cities Fairs Cup wins and a record two FIFA Club World Cup trophies.
"We are delighted to form this alliance with FC Barcelona," said Al Baker. "Qatar Airways has been voted Best Airline in the World for two consecutive years (2011 and 2012) and will work with FC Barcelona on activities of benefit both to fans and passengers, offering tangible rewards to both organisations."
What makes FC Barcelona so different from other leading clubs around the world is its huge international fan base and world leading following on social networks. Barça has more than 43 million fans on Facebook around the world, making it the most followed sports team on the social network.
"We know and understand the passion of the people of Catalonia, who live and breathe football," said Al Baker. "Football is a religion for tens of millions of fans globally. At Qatar Airways, we are able to bridge supporters and communities linking Barcelona with millions of loyal fans around the world."
The airline is working with FC Barcelona on creating joint initiatives, centring on added value flight and holiday packages for fans globally, as well as a host of community programmes involving loyal followers across the world. As well as being the club's main world sponsor, Qatar Airways was also the title sponsor of FC Barcelona's tour of Asia last month, which included a match in Bangkok and another in Kuala Lumpur against the national teams.
Sandro Rosell, president of FC Barcelona, said, "We thank Qatar Airways for their support, as we visit these fans that have dreamed for long about the chance to see our players live."
Nurturing young hopefuls
As a club with many young fans, FC Barcelona's youth academy based at Centro de formación Oriol Tort educates young people, both sportingly and intellectually, who have left their families and their communities to pursue a career with Barça. Currently, more than 30 young players from the youth academy have made their first-team debut, as well as a significant number of other players who have gone on to play in the Spanish League for other teams.
The club also has nine international FC Barcelona football schools, including in Japan, India, Brazil and Singapore, as well as many more seasonal football camps around the world.
Qatar Airways has long been an advocate of nurturing young hopefuls, by helping students join the organisation through scholarship, internship, and graduate career rotation programmes. Sport is also a key pillar of Qatar Airways' growth strategy, in line with the State of Qatar's 2030 Vision.
The partnership between Qatar Airways and FC Barcelona is one that can bring great advantages, not only for the club, but to the far corners of the globe that the two organisations reach as they become a team that unites the world.
My FC Barcelona
The making of the Qatar Airways-FC Barcelona TV commercial
Set in the 'Land of FC Barcelona', a fictional island that unites the fans, players and legends of FC Barcelona from all across the world, the landscapes seen in the Qatar Airways-FC Barcelona commercial are made up of real life shots filmed in Doha and Barcelona earlier this summer. However, to bring the magic of the Land of FC Barcelona to life, much of the land has been built using the latest CGI technologies, and the players seen in the commercial were filmed performing their action in front of green screens. Each player was given a role that reflected the way they play on the pitch: Messi's play is so fluid and beautiful that it resembles a dance, so he is depicted as a dance instructor; while Iniesta and Busquets are seen as artists of the game. See the commercial here: youtube.com/qatarairways
Qatar Airways-FC Barcelona official launch
At a recent event held at Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker and the President of FC Barcelona, Sandro Rosell officially launched the start of the three-year partnership between Qatar Airways and FC Barcelona.
"We understand the importance of FCB to Catalonia, to Spain, and in fact – to every country around the world," said Al Baker. "This partnership will raise Qatar Airways and FC Barcelona to a new platform internationally, bringing the fans of FCB closer together."
Rosell added: "We have a long journey ahead lasting three years in which we will share experiences, with a common starting point and goals. Barça and Qatar Airways are united by many ideals, such as a passion to be better each day, the conviction that the human factor makes a difference and the integration of different cultures, but I would emphasise the desire we have to connect with people. And this desire leads us to want to be every day closer to our fans."
Distance: 4,865 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 25 minutes