Chelsea have confirmed Infinite Athlete as their new shirt sponsor in a deal worth £40million ($48.8m) for a season.
The club launched their new home shirt in July without a front-of-shirt sponsor and played the opening month of the season without one after a three-year deal with telecommunications network 3 UK expired at the end of last season.
Biomechanics engineering company Infinite Athlete will sponsor Chelsea for the remainder of the season, with the deal struck in time for the women’s side to debut the new shirt during their Women’s Super League opener at home against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. Infinite Athlete’s logo will also appear on the sleeve of Chelsea’s training kit, which is principally sponsored by travel company Trivago.
Infinite Athlete is a recently formed company that came together when Tempus Ex Machina (a technology firm which signed a seven-year partnership with Chelsea in April) acquired injury analytics firm Biocore, meaning Tempus now goes under the name Infinite Athlete. The investment fund Silver Lake — which owns more than 18 per cent of the City Football Group, the umbrella organisation which owns Manchester City — is also an investor in Infinite Athlete.
Chelsea’s existing partnership with Tempus saw them install Match View X technology on the club’s app this season, giving fans the chance to watch games back and access player tracking, data and graphics.
The club had agreed to be sponsored by U.S. streaming service Paramount Plus, however, this move was rejected by the Premier League due to concerns it could cause problems with the league’s broadcast partners.
There were also talks between the club and Stake, but supporters voiced their opposition to being sponsored by a gambling firm and no deal was agreed, while Betting website Kaiyun Sports, which announced a deal with Nottingham Forest this season, were another front-of-shirt sponsor contender.
The club hosted representatives from Saudi state airline Riyadh Air during September’s defeat to Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge and pitched a potential front-of-shirt sponsorship deal.
Chelsea sit 14th in the Premier League after their opening six matches. They return to action on Monday when they travel to Fulham.
Chelsea’s estimated amortised spending in the past three windows under Boehly and Clearlake, using initial transfer figures reported by The Athletic, comes to £157.2million; this significantly lower number is almost entirely offset by an accounting profit from player sales of £149.6million over the same period.
It is clear to see, then, that big clubs have more room than they might first appear to manoeuvre in the transfer market without falling foul of UEFA’s FFP — and the restrictions themselves are loosening; from the 2023-24 season, clubs judged to be in good financial health could be permitted to lose as much as €90million over a three-year monitoring period, triple the old limit of €30million.
Because a club’s accounts are published almost a year after the relevant deals take place, it is currently too early to know if Chelsea’s current spending will see them post a loss or profit. But in terms of hitting that number over three years of about €90million loss, it is worth bearing in mind that last year’s accounts saw Chelsea post a £121million loss. The season before that saw a £156m loss, which was the second biggest in Premier League history, so the club will need to start turning a profit soon, whether that be through increased player sales, improved commercial deals or a return to the Champions League.