As artist and brand relationships get more complex, live music is on track to surpass the $1.34 billion in sponsorships the category logged in 2014. Below are four of the summer's biggest pairings.
Taylor Swift + Xfinity: One of two major sponsors for Taylor Swift's 1989 Tour, Xfinity cable provider Comcast Xfinity will make exclusive behind-the-scenes content from the tour available to its 22 million video subscribers, as well as give away tickets, backstage tours and meet-and-greet opportunities. With an extensive marketing push planned throughout the summer, Xfinity is estimated to spend in excess of $10 million on the tour. "Taylor doesn't need any help selling out concert tours, but she has a continued need to have engagement with her fanbase," says Todd Arata, Comcast's VP-marketing. "She puts such a premium artistic lens on everything she touches, so if we can create a unique viewing experience, that's really compelling for us."
Citi and The Who: Much like Citi's support of the Rolling Stones' 2013 "50 & Counting" tour, the credit card's VIP packages for this summer's "Who Hits 50!" Tour include access to a backstage lounge with exclusive limited-edition memorabilia. Citi will also host VIP cardmember lounges at a handful of U.S. dates on the Foo Fighters' 2015 Sonic Highways World Tour, including July 16 and 17 at New York's Citi Field and July 18 at Boston's Fenway Park. Both partnerships are estimated to be worth $1 million in total spending. "Citi customers have a strong affinity for entertainment, particularly this time of year," says Jennifer Breithaupt, Citi's global head of entertainment.
U2 and Salesforce: U2's ambitious multi-market stops on this year's Innocence + Experience Tour have a unique partner in Salesforce, a leading cloud-computing company that will support U2's global dates. With over 1 million tickets already sold, the tour is already a juggernaut -- as is Salesforce's ad spend, estimated to be more than $12 million including media. Lynn Vojvodich, Salesforce's exec vp-chief marketing officer, cited the company and U2's "shared commitment to innovation and philanthropy" as key reasons for pairing. Nashville-based sponsorship firm G7 brokered and is activating the deal.
Lady Antebelleum and Quicken: Putting a charitable spin on its latest album 747, Lady Antebellum tapped home-mortgage loaner Quicken to help pay seven fans' mortgages for a year in a partnership appropriately dubbed "7for7." The program is valued at more than $1 million in total spend. "We could just sponsor the Lady Antebellum tour, and we talked about that, but we felt it was important to also do the 7for7 sweeps so we could bring more than our name to the ticket," says Jay Farner, president-chief marketing officer, Quicken.
A version of this story first appeared in the May 30 issue of Billboard.