Infinite Management, a new company with a tiny turnover, have offered tens of millions to appear on the front of the 2022/23 shirts
Chelsea football shirts – Premier League will decide on value of Chelsea’s shirt sponsorship
Chelsea seem likely to start the season without a deal, after the sponsorship with Three came to an end
The final value of Chelsea’s proposed sponsorship with start-up company Infinite Management will be governed by the Premier League’s fair market value rules.
Infinite Management have put forward a deal to become the club’s main front-of-shirt sponsor, which one report claimed would be worth more than the £40 million-a-year paid by Three.
Chelsea are yet to confirm or comment on the proposed deal, which has raised some eyebrows given that the formation of Infinite Management was only announced this month and the new firm has investment links to the Chelsea owners, Clearlake Capital and Todd Boehly.
Tempus Ex Machina, with whom Chelsea signed a seven-year product partnership in April, acquired Biocore to form Infinite Management, whose partners include Silver Lake.
Silver Lake own more than 18 per cent of the City Football Group and are investors in Fanatics, along with Eldridge, which is the company owned by Boehly. Clearlake Capital led a $700m financing round for Fanatics last year.
Given that Tempus Ex Machina’s annual turnover was estimated at $15.4m (just over £12m) questions have already been asked outside Chelsea about where the funding for a sponsorship deal worth more than £40m a year would come from.
Chris Jurasek, Chelsea’s new chief executive officer who is also an operating executive at Clearlake Capital, was put in charge of the club’s search for a new sponsor and has held talks with a number of companies. Sources claim there are other options apart from Infinite Management.
Chelsea have not qualified for the Champions League, which has presented a challenge in finding a new sponsor at a similar financial level to Three.
A proposed deal with Paramount was blocked by the Premier League, while Chelsea pulled out of advanced negotiations with online casino Stake. With the top-flight season starting this weekend, some experts had predicted that the club might struggle to raise more than £25million a year at such a late stage.
Newcastle United, who have qualified for the Champions League, this summer signed a new £25m-a-year sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabia events company Sela that passed the Premier League’s fair market value rules.
Under Premier League rules, major commercial deals must be agreed at “fair market value” with an assessment undertaken by an independent expert. Although a deal cannot technically be stopped, clubs can be forced to renegotiate if they are not deemed to be consistent with market prices.
For each fair market value assessment, the Premier League considers submissions from the relevant club, the assessment of the independent expert and comparable data from within the league.
Clubs are able to announce sponsorship deals before the fair market value assessment has been completed, but can only take money from the deal once the league has given their green light.