In the last month, a number of Spotify's senior executives have left the company, but Bill Simmons is staying on with a new position. According to an announcement made by the firm this morning, the sports talk celebrity will now head Spotify's worldwide sports strategy.
Over the last several years, Spotify has expanded its sports footprint by acquiring Simmons' sports media company, The Ringer, for over $200 million in 2020. In 2021, the business paid about $67 million for the sports-oriented live audio service Locker Room (now known as Spotify Live). Outside of the discussion sector, Spotify signed a deal with FC Barcelona in March for naming rights to their stadium and logo placement on their shirts starting with the 2022–2023 season.
The CEO’s Stand
Daniel Ek, the CEO of Spotify, is a sports fanatic, especially for soccer. Last year, he unsuccessfully attempted to purchase Arsenal FC. Last month, while discussing the new FC Barcelona transaction with investors, he revealed the reason. "I realize that many of you are Americans, but let me just say that sports are a worldwide phenomenon," he remarked. "Football or soccer is the most popular sport globally, and FC Barcelona is the most popular team in the world. Therefore, we are talking hundreds of millions of users."
As the corporation expands its worldwide sports coverage, more soccer-related material seems inevitable. Simmons will continue to lead The Ringer while directing the international sports programming for Spotify.
Simmons is not the only one receiving a promotion today. Max Cutler, the founder of Parcast who sold his podcast studio to Spotify for $56 million in 2019, will become the company's head of creator content and partnerships and resign as Parcast's managing director. Julie McNamara, who oversaw programming at Paramount Plus before joining Spotify last year, will continue supervising originals and studio collaborations such as Batman Unburied, a recent big success. Cutler will manage a new "creative content" effort, while McNamara will grow Hollywood-produced fare due to the restructure. This will enable the studio to develop a wider variety of materials.
Cutler and McNamara will also fill the void left by Courtney Holt, Spotify's previous studio's director, who departed the business in April after almost five years of service. During his tenure as division head, Holt was credited with brokering exclusive partnerships with celebrities such as Joe Rogan, Alex Cooper, and the Obamas to attract top talent to Spotify, significantly contributing to the company's transformation into podcasting industry's Goliath. While most of the talent he recruited remains at Spotify, the firm has opted not to extend its six-month contract with the Obamas' Higher Ground Productions. Holt continues to serve as a consultant for the organization.
Major Resignations At Spotify
These developments follow the resignations of three senior Spotify executives, including Holt, within the last month. After two years at the leadership of Gimlet, Lydia Polgreen said she would return to The New York Times, where she worked from 2002 to 2016 as an opinion writer. The Verge reported earlier this month that Michael Mignano, who co-founded DIY podcast platform Anchor and sold it to Spotify in 2019, will be departing Spotify's podcasting tech stack after three years to join an early-stage VC company.
In addition to Polgreen and Cutler's successors, Spotify will make further major hires this summer.
Featured image: Spotify
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