Chelsea target global supremacy with game's biggest sponsorship

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The Independent Football

Chelsea yesterday completed the biggest club sponsorship deal in English football as they announced a five-year contract with the electronics firm Samsung worth just over £50m.

Chelsea yesterday completed the biggest club sponsorship deal in English football as they announced a five-year contract with the electronics firm Samsung worth just over £50m.

Chelsea's deal eclipses Manchester United's four-year contract with Vodafone, which is worth £36m, as well as Arsenal's new tie-up with Emirates from next season.

Samsung will take over from Emirates, whose current deal with Chelsea is worth £4m a year, on 1 June, with the logo "Samsung Mobile" appearing on shirts for the club's centenary season.

Chelsea's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have Samsung Electronics as our new official club sponsor. The company is one of the world's largest brand names and we are excited about what it can offer Chelsea.

"Samsung Electronics has a key part to play in the future global development of Chelsea and we believe that we can play a similar role for it in its strategic aims. There is a great synergy between the two brands in terms of recent dramatic growth and success, levels of performance and market targets.

"As a company, it has already shown a strong commitment to sport through sponsorship of the Olympic Games and in football through its ownership of the Suwon Bluewings, the champions of Asia. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship."

Sponsorship activities between Chelsea and Samsung Electronics will run in the UK and across Europe and Asia, as well as in North and South America.

Chelsea's business affairs director, Paul Smith, added: "Our relationship with Samsung Electronics is the next and very important step in the Chelsea business plan of working with global, blue-chip partners at every level.

"In the last two years Chelsea's UK fan base has increased by 300 per cent to an impressive 2.9 million. Worldwide, the fan base is approaching 20 million. That represents amazing growth. The Chelsea brand is seen as dynamic, cosmopolitan and successful which represents an attractive platform for our partners." The agreement was signed yesterday at Stamford Bridge by Kenyon and In-Soo Kim, president of Samsung Electronics Europe.

With a lucrative shirt deal with adidas already secured, Chelsea's sights are firmly trained on Manchester United's position as the world's richest club. Kenyon declared: "Our objectives are pretty clear. We have a 10-year vision for the business, which is based on Chelsea becoming the top football club in Europe and the world. That is based on success on the field around which we can build our business activities.

"In our last financial results, we demonstrated that we can grow the revenue part of the business, which increased by more than 40 per cent. This announcement is a further step in building a business platform that enables us to be the best on the field and the best off the field."

Kenyon added: "Clearly, we've spent a significant amount of money on players in the past 18 months. Last close season, we spent less than the season before and this close season, we'll spend less again.

"There's been an up-front investment in the squad but the average age is 25 and the squad is now 24-strong. The parameters of our cost base have been set, so it's about being in the transfer market for the right reasons.

"I don't think you'll see more than two or three players coming in [in the summer]. That becomes part of a natural cycle that you go through. It's more about the team ethic, not about one or two iconic players."