Sony Music's Big Sports Bet Continues in Alliance With Gerard Piqué's Kosmos Tennis Company

BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images
Gerard Pique and Shakira attend the Davis Cup Presentation on Sept. 5, 2019 in New York City.

Shakira, Piqué's longtime partner, helped introduce him to the Sony team.

Sony Music Latin Iberia has formed an alliance with soccer star Gerard Piqué and his Kosmos sports and entertainment company to bring artist performances and more to the newly-transformed tennis Davis Cup.

Piqué, a defender for FC Barcelona, announced the news at an intimate cocktail reception on the rooftop of Sony Square in New York on Thursday (Sept. 5), where his longtime partner Shakira and Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rob Stringer attended. The partnership envisions Super Bowl halftime show-style performances to bookend the Davis Cup by Rakuten, which kicks off on Nov. 18 in Madrid, plus other music-and-sports content to be announced down the line.

"We understand that for this competition, if we mix sports with entertainment, the impact is much bigger," Piqué told Billboard at the event, where the towering Davis Cup trophy was a centerpiece. "We’re talking about the World Cup of tennis. It will be a big party."

​The news marks Sony's third partnership in an ongoing, ambitious dive into sports. Sony is the label partner for Messi10, a Cirque du Soleil show premiering in October based on the life of Piqué's fellow FC Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi. And last month, Sony Music scored a two-year partnership with Fútbol Club Barcelona to collaborate on projects that combine soccer superstars and big-name music artists. 

Piqué added that Shakira brought him under the wing of Sony Music Latin, where she is signed. It was she who introduced Piqué to Stringer and Sony Music Latin Iberia chairman/CEO Afo Verde, taking the phrase "power couple" to a whole new level. 

"Sony is very big, but it’s a family at the same time," he said. "I met Rob, I met Afo, and we had some meetings. I’ve been involved very little in music in my life, but obviously, since I met Shakira, my life has changed."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Happy to announce in NY our alliance with Sony Music Latin Iberia for the @daviscupfinals

A post shared by Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) on

The length of Sony's contract with Kosmos, where Piqué serves as founder and president, is unclear. But it builds on the Kosmos Tennis subsidiary's recent 25-year, $3 billion deal with The International Tennis Federation (ITF) to radically overhaul the Davis Cup. Starting this year, the Cup will be decided with an 18-team tournament in one week, rather than over four weekend events, among other changes, in an attempt to turn the event into a star-studded, festival-like affair.

Piqué says the whole initiative is also an appeal to young fans. "We want to go to young people, because they are the future of this sport," he said. "To bring these kinds of artists, and to be involved with a company like Sony, makes total sense for doing that."

Kosmos will soon announce the artists taking part in the campaign -- and while Piqué is keeping the details under wraps, it's safe to say that Sony Latin artists are in the mix.

As for a performance from Shakira? "We're working on it," he says with a laugh. "At the end of the day, what we want is to have the best artists possible, to make this competition as big as possible."


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.