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The Greater Value of Sponsorships When Treated as Partnerships: Spotify x Barcelona FC

By: Yohana Menezes

The sports industry has always been one of a kind. An industry fueled by products that, although intangible in nature, are able to impact the consumer emotionally. With all of its uniqueness, the sports industry builds its revenue based on three main pillars: ticket and merchandise sales, broadcasting rights, and sponsorships.

There was a time in which sales was the main revenue generator. A better known one, and the one we have lived through for the most time, in which TV and broadcasting rights were the flagship of the industry. However, the one we have been transitioning to, the sponsorship era, might be the one with potential to truly showcase the marketing dynamics of our time.

In today’s marketing context, the deals with the greater overall value are based on a relationship of fluid power between all parties involved, which is essentially what defines a partnership. Just sponsoring a property or talent without considering perception, exposure, alignment, and reach usually generates an imbalance of power and reduces the longevity factor of any deal.

A good example of a partnership that has great added value is the one between Spotify and Barcelona FC.

It is no news that Barcelona FC has been facing one of the worst financial crisis of its history, while Spotify, although currently consolidated at the top, has been dealing with decreased percentage growth due to increased competition in the industry (Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, etc).

With the partnership deal, both of them saw a solution to their “pain” points; an opportunity to increase and share profits, as well as decrease and share losses/risks.

  1. Uniform:

Spotify will be the main uniform sponsor for both men’s and women’s professional teams, as well as for the club’s Pro Academies for the next 5 years.

  1. Camp Nou’s Naming Rights––Spotify Camp Nou:

It will not only include the façade, but also other parts of the stadium such as terrace seats, home and away benches, various pitch level assets etc. for the next 5 years––with the right to extend the deal to another 15 years.

  1. Advertising Assets:

“Such as the advertising panels used in the pressroom and mixed zone, and in other institutional activities at the Spotify Camp Nou and Estadi Johan Cruyff [women’s and youth’s stadium].”

  1. Digital Realm/In Loco Activation:

“Spotify will have a key presence in audiovisual contents created around the teams’ training sessions, which will be published and promoted on the club’s social networks;” as well as the opportunity to make their experiences tangible at Camp Nou and its surroundings.

Barçelona not only will be getting financial relief, rumored to be around €240 million over an extended period of time––which will allow them to improve the club’s operations as a whole––but will also have the opportunity to explore Spotify’s global presence and customer base, possibly attracting and retaining new fans. On the other side of the partnership, Spotify will be getting increased traction and global exposure, access to Barçelona’s customer database, as well as means to further promote and benefit its artists.

Far from being just a sponsorship, and as mentioned on Barcelona’s website, we can expect this partnership “to bring together two worlds that arouse special passions among their fans, namely music and sport, with an eye to creating new experiences that will revolutionize the fan experience and offer a single platform on which to connect players and artists with followers around the world.”

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