Spotify’s long-rumoured sponsorship deal with football club FC Barcelona was confirmed yesterday as a four-year agreement. It’s not just about plastering Spotify’s logo on Barca’s shirts however: the club’s famous stadium is being renamed Spotify Camp Nou.
Neither side announced a price for the sponsorship, although the figure of $310m (i.e. $77.5m a year) is floating around media reports. A relief for Barcelona, given the club’s well-documented financial problems in recent times. And also a number likely to figure highly in the ongoing debate about streaming royalties.
For context, Spotify’s entire sales and marketing costs for the last four years are €3.61bn ($3.97bn at current exchange rates) so if the $310m figure is correct, this deal is around 8.6% of those costs over a comparable period.
Spotify, of course, had an early warning of the potential backlash from artists when its CEO Daniel Ek was hoping to buy English club Arsenal last year, and that has clearly informed its announcement of the Barca deal.
“The vision for the partnership is to create a new platform to help artists interact with Barcelona’s global community of fans,” said its chief freemium business officer Alex Norström in an interview with Spotify’s own For The Record blog.
Geolocated ads within the stadium are one plan (“While viewers in Europe may see a message about one artist, TV viewers in India could be served a different and locally relevant message…”) with hints that it wants to use the shirt sponsorship specifically to “make the shirt a bigger platform with more opportunities for artists”.
Spotify is getting in early with its response to the anticipated ‘paying footballers instead of artists’ criticism with its pitch on opportunities. The proof will be in the pudding over the coming months.