One plus one is three

"Sport and music are two things I couldn't do without. Tension-laden sporting moments and great songs are things that really affect me. So it's not surprising that I'm a big fan of sponsors that opt for a combination of music and sport in their portfolio. If that sort of sponsorship is also selected strategically and if activations are coordinated with each other, then the combination of music and sport can have greater impact than the sum of the individual sponsorships. A typical case of one plus one equalling three.

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Of course, music and sport can easily be combined in a single sponsorship. Earlier this month, for instance, PepsiCo was sponsor of the opening ceremony of the UEFA Champions League final, for the sixth time. Each year, Pepsi attracts stars with world-wide allure, following the example of their NFL sponsoring in the US, where they also sponsor the renowned Super Bowl Half-time Show (which, unfortunately, they are going to stop doing, it was recently revealed). In market research, we see that sponsoring of that opening ceremony is precisely a catalyst for the positive impact that the Champions League sponsoring has on the Pepsi brand.

And on the subject of powerful combinations of music and sport, from 1 July music streaming service Spotify will have its name associated with both the shirt and the stadium of FC Barcelona. I've heard many a critical opinion voiced on this, but you'll understand by now that this is something I can get excited about. Critics claim that Barça could've earned much more money from sponsorship rights (as if a mere EUR 280 m over four years were not enough) and that the deal was forced through due to the club's large debt burden. In fact, I think that Barcelona is all too aware that an association with Spotify will net them far more than that investment alone. In this case, the fact that one plus one equals three applies not just to the sponsor, but definitely to the rights holder, too.

Rights holders have the biggest problem trying to retain their fanbase. Organisations such as FC Barcelona have little control over the younger generation of fans in particular. Young people no longer follow the club via traditional channels and are less inclined to commit to a season ticket. The traditional 'customer journey' doesn't apply to the new generation of fans, yet the marketing department of most football clubs still revolves around the annual campaign to sell season tickets. The result is that the distance between the club and the fanbase continues to grow. Barcelona recently claimed to have 350 million fans worldwide, but their database allows them to reach just 3 million.

The new main sponsor offers opportunities, particularly where that new generation of fans is concerned. Spotify can connect Barcelona to the fan of the future. I'm very interested to see how the Swedish streaming service is going to activate the sponsorship. From Depay's play list, through spectacular live performances in Camp Nou to exclusive podcasts. With a Barcelona shirt showing the name of my favourite artist, they could perhaps even persuade me to buy one!

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