How a 280 million euro deal led to the resignation of a CEO and a QR code crashed the Super Bowl

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More than a what now?

Not so long ago, FC Barcelona was touted as a shining light in an increasingly commercial world of football.

It was not until 2006 that the Catalan club decided the time was right for them to hand over their shirt front inventory, but even then they didn’t do so for their own financial gain. The first logo to appear on Barcelona’s shirt was that of children’s charity Unicef, which the LaLiga side actually paid €1.5m a year to appear on their kit.

It was very much a link in line with the Mes que un Club de Barcelona – or more than a club – brand identity, which is a nod to the structure of the club as an institution owned to its members, the sense of community that has always existed around it, and its heritage as a symbol of Catalan culture. It also allowed Barca to slip into space in a way that fans wouldn’t mind promoting a cause as opposed to a big, for-profit corporation.

But it would have been fanciful to believe the club wouldn’t start selling their shirt sponsorship to the highest bidder, especially if they wanted to keep pace with their domestic and European rivals.

Partnerships with Qatar Sports Investments, which used the deal to advertise the Qatar Foundation and then Qatar Airways, and Rakuten have since followed, but it’s Barcelona’s next shirt sponsorship deal that will arguably be the most crucial of the lot given the club’s perilous financial situation. . The problem being that the club are arguably not as attractive commercially as they were when their outgoing partner first signed in 2016.

Barcelona president and architect of the Unicef ​​deal was Joan Laporta, so perhaps it’s fitting that he’s the man back at the helm at this critical moment in the club’s modern history. . The man himself recently confirmed rumors that the LaLiga outfit are set to strike a three-year partnership with music streaming giant Spotify, which would have paid 280 million euros to sponsor the shirt and the famous Camp Nou, marking the first time the stadium has had a naming rights partner.

However, not everyone was happy with the deal. News of the Spotify arrangement was quickly followed by the resignation of Barcelona chief executive Ferran Reverter, who was reportedly unhappy with the final terms of the deal, which ESPN said were revised at the last minute.

It is interesting at this point to note that Laporta was once very critical of Barcelona’s decision to promote the Qatar Foundation and Qatar Airways after his departure, a move he suggested in 2015 did not live up to the ‘more than a club’ slogan as the arrangement he had concluded with UNICEF. At the time, he was seeking a second term as club president.

But Spotify, of course, goes through its own difficulties at the moment due to controversy over his loyalty to Joe Rogan’s hugely popular podcast, which has come under fire for spreading Covid-19 misinformation and using racial slurs in past episodes.

Indeed, Laporta seems happier now than he was several years ago to put Barcelona values ​​aside if it means securing a contract that will generate much-needed revenue. And that deal with Unicef ​​certainly seems like a long time ago.

The Unicef ​​logo was the first to appear on the front of Barcelona shirts


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Scan here to load

Where would QR codes be in 2022 if it wasn’t for Covid, huh? They were used ephemerally before the pandemic hit, but now it’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t depend on a small square box to display a menu in a restaurant, access a place or be logged into our favorite cryptocurrency website. .

Wait what?

Yeah. One of the most peculiar advertisements aired in the United States during the Super Bowl saw Coinbase bounces a QR code on a blank background. It reminded an episode of the us office where all the employees are mesmerized by the floating DVD logo and whether it will land perfectly in the corner of the TV screen.


Anyone who scanned the Coinbase QR code would have been redirected to the company’s website, which offered US$15 worth of free Bitcoin to new signups. The only problem, however, was that the app quickly crashed.

People joked that Coinbase was willing to spend up to US$14 million for 60 seconds of ad time, but hadn’t invested enough in backend technology to handle the traffic that might accompany an event to which more than 100 million people had listened. Look.

However, Coinbase might have had the last laugh as the company’s mobile app skyrocketed. from the 186th to the second in the App Store. Opinion was split on whether or not this was a good use of ad space, but it didn’t half-generate conversation. And isn’t that the point?

Ads aside, the Super Bowl certainly seemed to live up to the NFL sponsors, who received $170 million in brand exposure during the game, according to research by Hive and Elevate Sports Ventures.

For anyone counting, the brands that received the most screen time were:

  1. Nike (46 minutes 37 seconds)
  2. Bose (8m 07s)
  3. Gatorade (5m 41s)
  4. Pepsi (3m 49s)
  5. New Era (1m 58s)

Top Resellers

Over the past seven days or so, Red Bull Racing has secured around $450m in sponsorship revenue as money pours into Formula 1 ahead of the new season.

First, the team has expanded its relationship with Oracle in a deal that sees the tech giant become Red Bull’s title sponsor and is worth an estimated $300 million over five years. Then, this week, the motorsports outfit announced a partnership with Bybit which it claims is the most valuable crypto partnership in sports by annual value.

Not bad for a week’s work.


Five deals you may have missed


Three things I read

1. The Beijing Winter Olympics have so far been one bad news story after another, but the event appears to have the desired effect in the host country.

2. Looking for takeaway marketing lessons from Super Bowl 2022? Look no further than here.

3. Few tunes in sport are as recognizable as the UEFA Champions League anthem, and apparently more sports leagues and teams look to sound as a key branding tool.


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