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Barcelona, Spotify, & Ferran Reverter: What’s Going on Here?

The streaming audio giant is reportedly close to a nine-figure Barça pact including kit sponsorship and the first-ever naming rights for Camp Nou. But there appears to be much more to the story.

Amid a couple of weeks of negative publicity and spirited debate around Spotify, the music and podcast streaming goliath has eyes on making major news across world football. The brand is hammering out a record-setting sponsorship deal with legendary Spanish soccer club FC Barcelona, according to reporting from multiple sources.

Understood to be worth a massive €280 million ($320 million) over three years, the pact includes:

  • Kit sponsorship featuring the company’s logo across the club’s iconic Blaugrana jerseys for both its men’s and women’s teams. Japanese company Rakuten had been the men’s team’s kit sponsors since 2017, while Stanley’s Black & Decker brand held the women’s team’s kit deal since 2018.
  • The first-ever naming rights sponsorship for the Catalan club’s iconic Camp Nou stadium

Amid the reported Spotify negotiations, however, Barcelona CEO Ferran Reverter resigned from the organization after less than a year in the position.

In an official statement published on Barça’s website, Reverter cited family and personal issues. According to reporting from ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Moises Llorens, however, the Spotify discussions were one of the issues putting distance between Reverter and club president Joan Laporta that ended up being insurmountable.

Barcelona has famously fallen on hard financial times during the COVID-19 pandemic, with issues balancing its player payroll and team revenues so severe that the team could not re-sign all-time club great and Argentine soccer legend Lionel Messi, ultimately letting him leave on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain because La Liga rules could ultimately not permit the team to bring him back given their outstanding debt load.

Barcelona currently sit a disappointing fourth in the La Liga standings behind Real Betis, Sevilla, arch nemesis Real Madrid, who are set to acquire superstar Kylian Mbappe from PSG this summer. Barça made efforts to improve the first team in the January transfer window, obtaining young Manchester City center forward Ferran Torres for $62 million and signing veteran star Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a free transfer after he fell out of favor at Arsenal, but this week’s latest drama puts a damper on what should be a more optimistic period, especially after defeating Atletico Madrid in league play over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the seemingly welcome infusion of fresh capital for Barcelona is also a much-needed burst of good news for Spotify, whose stock had slumped more than 18% over the last five days. But given the global intrigue currently in play before our eyes, there’s a solid chance that there are more shoes to drop.

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