MADRID (AP) — Barcelona is teaming up with Spotify — and changing the name of its stadium — to ease some of the financial woes that have plagued the Spanish club recently.
Barcelona’s stadium will be called Spotify Camp Nou after the club announced a ‘long-term partnership’ with the audio streaming company on Tuesday.
The deal includes sponsorship of the main shirt and title rights for the stadium, which will have a linked sponsor name for the first time from July.
Spotify branding will appear on the front of both men’s and women’s team shirts for four seasons from 2022-23. The Swedish company will also sponsor the training shirts for three seasons. The club did not say when the title rights for the stadium will end.
“Spotify and FC Barcelona will work together to create opportunities for the iconic shirt to become a space that can celebrate artists around the world,” the club said. “The vision of the partnership is to create a new platform to help artists interact with the global community of FC Barcelona fans.”
Barcelona President Joan Laporta said the partnership will help bring the club closer to its fans “through unique experiences, combining two activities such as entertainment and football, allowing us to connect with new audiences through the world”.
The agreement making Spotify the club’s main partner has been signed by the board of directors but is subject to ratification by delegate members in April.
Financial details were not disclosed by the club, but Spanish media said the deal was worth around 60 million euros ($65 million) to 70 million euros ($76 million) per season. .
Spotify will replace Japanese online retail company Rakuten, which paid 55 million euros ($60 million) for the first four seasons with the club before extending it for another, for 30 million euros ( $32 million). The Rakuten contract was due to expire at the end of this season.
Spotify’s announcement came a day after the Spanish league said Barcelona would head into the next transfer window with more than 144 million euros ($157 million) over their spending limit.
The Spotify deal will help the club reduce this deficit and significantly improve its purchasing power, as the league’s salary caps are largely based on revenue, costs and debt.
Negotiations with Spotify had been ongoing for some time and Ferran Reverter resigned as CEO of Barcelona last month due to disagreements within the club over the new deal, although the club and Reverter said they would had left “for personal and family reasons”.
Barcelona have slowly restructured their finances after racking up huge debts due to the coronavirus pandemic and mismanagement by previous directors. The club couldn’t keep Lionel Messi after last season due to his financial difficulties.
Barcelona are back in the second tier of European football after nearly two decades among the Champions League top flight. He faces Galatasaray in Turkey on Thursday in the second leg of the Europa League Round of 16. The teams drew 0-0 in the first leg at Barcelona last week.
Xavi Hernández’s side have been playing well recently after a difficult start to the season and are back in third place in the Spanish league after being close to mid-table at the start.
Spotify was recently embroiled in a content controversy over comedian Joe Rogan, who has millions of devoted fans but has angered some people who found his comments offensive.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said last year that a bid to buy Arsenal had been rejected by the Kroenke family, owners of the London-based Premier League club.
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