FC Barcelona and Spotify have arrived at this place from different paths. For one, it’s the Messi that left (Lionel), and for the other, it’s the mess that stayed (Joe Rogan), but both once-dominant brands find themselves in want of some good will. To that end, the world’s most popular music streamer and one of the globe’s winningest
soccer football clubs have announced a massive sponsored partnership.
With this agreement, Spotify will become Barça’s main corporate sponsor for the 2022-23 season, as well as the club’s Official Audio Partner. This doesn’t just mean that you’ll see the Big Green Circle emblazoned on the men’s and women’s club uniforms or shining out from the display screens in Camp Nou stadium; Spotify wants to use these traditional advertising spaces to promote specific artists.
In a Spotify blog post, the company’s Chief Freemium Business Officer, Alex Norström, spoke about how the company will leverage this jersey opportunity on behalf of the two different kinds of artists: that is, “new” and “female.”
He said, “If you think about how we’ve used our marketing platforms in the past, which regularly spotlight new and female artists through our EQUAL and RADAR programs, you can get a sense of the approach we’ll be thinking about for the partnership. We are excited to see what we can dream up together.”
He added that through the magic of TV technology, Camp Nou’s display screens will target different audiences in diverse parts of the world. “Spotify is working with Barça to leverage our access to in-stadium elements to amplify artists and enable discovery,” he said. “For example, using the dynamic digital displays to showcase and geo-target relevant artists to Barça’s global TV audience. While viewers in Europe may see a message about one artist, TV viewers in India could be served a different and locally relevant message.”
In a statement to Billboard, FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta explained that the deal “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.”
Since Neil Young demanded that Spotify remove his music due to their platforming of COVID-19 misinformation, the company’s stock is down over 30%, and a study found that almost one in five users had either already cancelled their subscription or planned to do so. But while Spotify is willing to tolerate Rogan’s past use of the N-word and vaccine skepticism, it drew the line at unprovoked acts of war, cutting ties with Russia earlier this month.
As for FC Barcelona, its dominant run from 2006 to 2015, which included four pan-European Champions League titles, is quickly fading in the rearview mirror. The club is currently in third place in La Liga standings, and previous ownership left them drowning in over $1 billion in debt.