Barcelona stadium becomes Spotify Camp Nou under sponsorship

MADRID (AP) — Barcelona is teaming up with Spotify — and changing its stadium name — to ease some of the financial struggles that hindered 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 agreement includes sponsorship of the main shirt and title rights for the stadium, which will have a sponsor name linked to it for the first time beginning in July.

The Spotify brand will appear on the front of both men’s and women’s team shirts for four seasons beginning in 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 be working together to create opportunities for the iconic shirt to become a space that can celebrate artists from across the world,” the club said. “The vision for the partnership is to create a new platform to help artists interact with FC Barcelona’s global community of 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, making it possible for us to connect with new audiences around the world.”

The deal 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 agreement was worth about 60 million euros ($65 million) to 70 million euros ($76 million) per season.

Spotify will replace Japanese online retailing company Rakuten, which paid 55 million euros ($60 million) for the first four seasons with the club before extending it for another, for reportedly 30 million euros ($32 million). The Rakuten contract was set to expire at the end of this season.

The Spotify announcement came a day after the Spanish league said Barcelona would head into the next transfer window more than 144 million euros ($157 million) over its spending limit.

The Spotify deal will help the club reduce that deficit and significantly improve its spending power as the league’s salary caps are largely based on revenues, costs and debts.

The negotiation with Spotify had been ongoing for some time, and Ferran Reverter resigned as Barcelona’s CEO last month reportedly over disagreements within the club about the new deal, though the club and Reverter said he left “for personal and family reasons.”

Barcelona has been slowly restructuring its finances after amassing huge debts because of the coronavirus pandemic and poor management by previous administrators. The club couldn’t keep Lionel Messi after last season because of its financial struggles.

Barcelona is back in the second tier of European soccer after nearly two decades contending among the elite in the Champions League. It plays Galatasaray in Turkey on Thursday in the second leg of the round of 16 of the Europa League. The teams drew 0-0 in the first leg in Barcelona last week.

Xavi Hernández’s team has been playing well recently after a tough start to the season and is back to third place in the Spanish league after being near mid-table early on.

Spotify was recently involved in a controversy over content by comedian Joe Rogan, who has millions of devoted fans but angered some people who found his comments offensive.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek last year said a bid to buy Arsenal was rejected by the Kroenke family, which owns the London-based Premier League club.


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