Spotify Technology SA, the music streaming service, signed a deal to put its name on the uniforms and stadium of FC Barcelona.
Under the terms of the long-term deal, Barcelona will rename its stadium Spotify Camp Nou in July. Spotify’s brand will appear on players’ shirts for the next four years, beginning with the 2022-23 season, the company said in a statement. Spotify said it would also use the sponsorship to promote musical artists.
Although it is the first time the Spanish club sells its stadium’s naming rights, large companies have long paid to put their names on sports venues to boost their business and benefit from the positive association fans have with their favorite teams. The parties didn’t disclose the terms. Newspaper La Vanguardia, which is based in Barcelona, reported Wednesday that the deal is worth 280 million euros ($307 million), one of the most expensive sponsorship deals in the world.
Barcelona, which is owned by its members, needs all the financial help it can get. Though one of the most decorated soccer clubs in the world, it lost 481 million euros last year. In Spotify, it finds a company led by a soccer fanatic. Spotify co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek has expressed interest in buying Arsenal FC, one of the top teams in the U.K.
In October, the cash-strapped club’s members voted in favor or raising additional funds to refurbish its stadium as part of a wider project to shore up is battered finance. Surging debt and the limited revenue due the coronavirus pandemic forced Barcelona to let go its most iconic player, Lionel Messi, who last year signed for European rival Paris Saint-Germain.
The club is the only one in Spain whose squad spending limits are negative. Top national competition LaLiga announced the new caps on clubs’ salary budget on Monday, setting Barcelona’s to a negative 144 million euros. The club will be able to sign new players only by saving on its spending, either by reducing the current squad’s wages or alternatively by boosting income or cut expenses.
Barcelona only began putting advertising on its jerseys in 2006, decades after most other clubs. And the first one it featured was UNICEF, for free, as a way of signaling it was doing so for a noble cause and not for money.
Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.