Sponsorship Deal with Spotify is Music to FC Barcelona’s Ears

Giants of the football and music worlds came together on Tuesday, as worldwide streaming service Spotify announced it had struck a deal to sponsor legendary Spanish club FC Barcelona.

The contract will run for four seasons, starting in 2022-23, and includes the addition of the Spotify logo to the front of Barça’s men’s and women’s first-team kits and training kits.

It also includes the naming rights to the club’s stadium, marking the first time ever those rights have been sold. Starting in July 2022, the stadium will be rebranded as Spotify Camp Nou.

Courtesy FCBarcelona.com

“We are very proud to announce a pioneering alliance like this with a world-renowned organization like Spotify,” said Barça president Joan Laporta on the club’s website. “This partnership will allow us to continue to bring the Club closer to its fans and make them feel, even more, part of the Barça family through unique experiences, combining two activities such as entertainment and football, making it possible for us to connect with new audiences around the world.”

“It’s about connecting fans with artists of every kind — players and artists, music and sports,” Spotify’s Chief Freemium Business Officer, Alex Norström, said on the company’s website. “Barcelona fans and audio lovers on Spotify will come together to form a massive, globally connected community bridging the worlds of music and football. The vision for the partnership is to create a new platform to help artists interact with Barcelona’s global community of fans.”

Financial terms of the deal were not released. However, ESPN FC notes that Barça’s previous shirt sponsorship deal with e-commerce company Rakuten was worth up to €60 million ($65.7 million USD) per season by itself. The club also raked in another €57 million ($62.4 million USD) over three years through a separate training gear deal with appliance maker Beko.

The Rakuten logo prominently featured on FC Barcelona’s 2021-22 European kit when it was unveiled back in September 2021. (Courtesy FCBarcelona.com)

Since this is the first time naming rights to the Camp Nou have been sold, there’s no telling how much Spotify is paying for that privilege. But several sources, including Reuters, report the whole deal could be worth as much as €280 million ($306 million USD) over four years, making it one of the most lucrative football sponsorship deals ever signed. That would go a long way to paying down Barça’s debts, which are reportedly in the neighbourhood of €1.35 billion ($1.48 billion USD).

FC Barcelona famously eschewed front-of-shirt sponsors throughout much of its history. The first time they added one was in 2006-07, when the UNICEF logo appeared on their away kits as a humanitarian gesture. A season later, it was added to all their kits.

Photos courtesy Football Kit Archive

This lasted until 2011-12, when the space was taken over by the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit supporting education, research and community development in the Middle Eastern nation. In 2013-14, the sponsor changed, but it didn’t go far — it was now Qatar Airways.

Photos courtesy Football Kit Archive

In 2016-17, the Qatar Airways deal ran out and a new sponsor couldn’t be secured, so Barça played the season without a sponsor logo on their shirts. The space was still in demand, though, and by the time the 2017-18 season kicked off, the Rakuten logo was plastered over the club’s signature red and blue stripes.

Photos courtesy Football Kit Archive

FC Barcelona’s women’s team has been sponsored by power tool company Stanley since 2018.

Courtesy Eurosport.com

Feature graphic courtesy FCBarcelona.com