NEW YORK: FC Barcelona gets the ultimate New York welcome on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) when the Empire State Building lights its tower in Barca blue and red when Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho flicks the switch.
The tribute at sundown marks the Spanish champions’ arrival in the Big Apple, where they opened an office on Park Avenue on Tuesday and are commemorating a 10-year charity partnership with UNICEF.
The Catalan club, whose team includes a galaxy of superstars including Ronaldinho and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, is the second richest football club in the world after La Liga rivals Real Madrid.
The opening of a New York office signals a major commercial expansion by the team, two years after it opened a Hong Kong office to cater to the Asian market.
FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu told Barca TV in an interview that the club wanted to create a franchise women’s team to compete in the National Women’s Soccer League to boost the club’s profile in North America.