FC Barcelona announced Friday that it would wear the logo of Canadian artist Drake on its jerseys in the upcoming league match against fellow Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The limited-edition shirt will celebrate Drake being the first artist to have his tracks streamed 50 billion times on Spotify, Barcelona’s main sponsor.
In a statement, Juli Guiu, Vice President of Marketing for Barcelona, explained that the club’s “alliance with Spotify goes beyond a mere commercial relationship. It is a strategic relationship through which we seek to bring together two worlds that can arouse emotion, namely music and football.”
|SPOT||SPOTIFY TECHNOLOGY SA||81.78||-0.92||-1.11%|
In addition to being the club’s shirt sponsor, the audio streaming giant has naming rights to Barcelona’s stadium, now branded as “Spotify Camp Nou.” The deal, signed in March and effective since July 1 of this year, was reportedly worth more than $272 million.
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The deal preceded Barcelona’s sale of several club assets this summer to raise its spending limit and comply with LaLiga’s financial fair play rules.
“We were really excited to celebrate one of the biggest games of the year and mark Drake’s milestone as the first artist to reach 50 billion streams,” Marc Hazan, Spotify VP of Partnerships, said in a statement. “We’ve always said that we want this partnership to be a celebration of fans, players and artists on a global stage—and there’s no bigger stage than El Clásico.”
Real Madrid and Barcelona are currently neck and neck in the race for the Spanish league title, both on 22 points from 8 matches played. Whenever the teams meet in the league or in other competitions, the game is known by the moniker “El Clásico,” as it is the meeting of Spain’s two most successful clubs.
The clubs have had contrasting fortunes in their respective Champions League runs. Real Madrid has already qualified for the Round of 16, while Barcelona are on the brink of an early exit from the competition after it only picked up 1 point from 4 available against Inter Milan.
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Barcelona rank second on Forbes’ list of soccer team valuations, with a current value of $5 billion, behind Real Madrid, who are valued at $5.1 billion.
According to ESPN, Barcelona was once famed for its ideological aversion to shirt sponsors. However, the artist’s logo, a silhouette of an owl, will be emblazoned on its shirt during Sunday’s match.
Drake, who has won 4 Grammy awards, posted a picture of himself with the jersey to his 120 million Instagram followers.
This is only the first instance of this type of exchange on the front of the team shirts. It is scheduled to happen more as the season progresses, according to a club statement.
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