Barça embraces Spotify for €75m a year until 2025

Men's team, women's team, training kit and stadium will be sponsored by Swedish multinational

3 min
Camp Nou, minutes before the match

BarcelonaSpotify and Barça are about to announce the agreement that will see the Swedish company become the front-of-shirt sponsor of the men's first football team shirt, replacing Rakuten, as of July 1, 2022. The company will also appear on the women's jersey replacing Stanley. In addition, the Spotify logo will be on training kit and will associate its name with the Camp Nou through naming rights until the refurbishment work is completed, initially in 2025. The contract will be for three years, during which Barça will be able to receive around €75m per season in total, sources involved in the negotiations as explained to ARA.

Negotiations with Spotify, according to club sources, began in November, when Barça received an offer from Spotify at a delicate moment in the adventure of finding a sponsor. At that time, the October deadline that Nike had given the Catalan club to find out the brand that had to appear on the front of the shirt had already expired after Rakuten's continuity had been ruled out months earlier – as a result of the mutual disappointment between Barça and the Japanese multinational. In addition, a deal that president Joan Laporta liked had fallen through in the summer: an online education company from India offered around €60m a year for the front of the shirt alone, but negotiations eventually collapsed due to the club executive's desire to push for a higher figure.

An insufficient first offer

As ARA explained in December, at the time there were two technology companies which were well positioned to end up sponsoring the front of the Barça shirt. One of them was already Spotify. The problem was that the club believed the amount the Swedish company was willing to pay for appearing on the front of the shirt was insufficient, well below €60m per season. In any case, this company's reputation was already well liked, and it fulfilled one of the board's main goals: that it be in line with the club's values. Precisely for this reason, offers from cryptocurrency companies and others related to this sector were discarded, such as the Israeli company Vegan Nation, which were significantly higher in financial terms.

Thus, Barça and Spotify were willing to find a solution to bring closer the figures that one wanted to receive and the other was willing to pay. It is then that the idea of adding available sponsorship assets from July 1, 2022 appeared. In the end, the parties settled on the front of the shirt of the first women's soccer team, the training kit and naming rights only for a period of three years, with the aim of allowing Barça to negotiate a better offer when the new Camp Nou is completed in 2025.

Laporta and Reverter's relationship breaks down

Ferran Reverter, who on Tuesday resigned as Barça's CEO, was one of the people in charge of the club's negotiations with the companies interested in sponsoring the club. The CEO, highly valued inside and outside the Catalan entity, was the leader of one of the two strong power groups that had formed at the top of the club since the beginning of Laporta's mandate. The other was headed by the president himself, who has been calling the shots in the negotiations with Spotify. The discrepancies between the two were known within the club and communication between the two groups did not have the necessary fluidity, two problems that have also risen during the negotiations with the Swedish company, with the relationship nearing breaking point.

In the adventure of finding a sponsor, Reverter has been accompanied by Alex Barbany, the club's director of new revenues, and Juli Guiu, the vice president of marketing. In fact, it is Guiu who was caught in a photograph with the Spotify top suits on Sunday in the Camp Nou box after Barça's 4-2 win over Atlético de Madrid. Reverter had arrived in Barcelona over the weekend from Miami, where he went to close the €1.5bn financing for Espai Barça.

The main attraction, Barça's 300 million fans

The main attraction that Spotify sees in a club like Barça, in the absence of world stars like Leo Messi, are the over 300 million fans it has worldwide. Thus, the Swedish brand aims to get its product to as many Barça fans as possible, a goal that has come up against an obstacle. The azulgrana club, through its FRM (Fan Relationship Management) project, promoted by Josep Maria Bartomeu's board of directors, has only managed to collect data on the tastes and interests of a few million fans.