British billionaire Alki David is confident he will attain the naming rights for Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium in a potentially record-breaking deal.
The Catalan club revealed this week that it will sell the naming rights for the first time in the ground’s 63-year history and donate the proceeds to fund ‘research projects and the worldwide fight against the coronavirus pandemic’.
And David, who is worth around £2.6billion and is the heir to the plants which bottle Coca-Cola, feels better positioned to secure a deal than corporate rivals who are struggling in the challenging economic climate.
‘This is an opportunity that I am bullish about. It is an historic moment in the history of sport and it fits well with my current plans,’ said David, who was born in Nigeria but holds a British passport.
‘Contact was opened at the start of the week and I am quietly confident the deal will be secured.’
Barcelona have traditionally resisted outside corporate involvement in all aspects of the club. Unicef, the children’s charity, appeared on their shirts until 2010 when a controversial deal was signed with the Qatar Foundation.
Naming rights will come at a cost, and David said he could not disclose sums at this stage of talks but said he expected ‘records to be broken’.
‘Manchester City got just over £18million for their annual rights, Spurs are now seeking £25m, but Barcelona are on a different level,’ added David. ‘This deal with the Nou Camp is another way to help. It is full of all the energy that Barcelona stands for. My health company has been working hard with top virologists, including the UK’s Dr Dorothy Bray, to look at any way we can hit this virus.’
David said he would probably use the title of one of his two main businesses — FilmOn and Swissx — in the Nou Camp name.
He said: ‘Both of my companies make sense for the Nou Camp name because of our association with sports. FilmOn TV has a vast array of sports channels running 24/7 despite the sports lockdown, while Swissx, my health company, has already planned the Swissx Games in Gstaad — and now we’re set to announce the Swissx eFoil Cup in Malibu.
‘Swissx Nou Camp has a nice ring to it. That is my preferred choice at the moment.’
David is a football fan and came close to buying Coventry City in 2007, before talks with club director Geoffrey Robinson stalled at the last minute.
The 51-year-old also runs a CBD (cannabidiol) business with friend Mike Tyson, and recently flew a private jet to St Kitts with a £1.3million cargo of hemp plants.
‘I have no criminal record, despite last year’s fun in St Kitts and various money-grabbing attempts in other meaningless civil claims,’ said David. ‘My record is as clean as it gets among the big hitters in the business world.
‘Barcelona and Alki David would be a beautiful partnership.’