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Reports: Chelsea agree ‘UK£40m+ per year’ Infinite Athlete shirt sponsorship

Premier League club lands a lucrative deal with the sports tech startup days before the 2023/24 season kicks off.

9 August 2023 Josh Sim

Getty Images

  • Blues were previously linked with Paramount+ and Stake
  • Club also said to be under league investigation for financial rule breaches during Roman Abramovich’s ownership tenure

English soccer club Chelsea have agreed a front-of-shirt sponsorship deal with sports technology startup Infinite Athlete, according to multiple UK reports.

The Premier League club have been searching for a new agreement since their contract with telecommunications firm Three expired at the end of last season. A proposed deal with US streaming service Paramount+ was blocked by the league over a contract clash with the competition’s broadcast partners.

The Blues also were close to finalising a contract with Stake, but then shelved the agreement after receiving fan criticism over striking such a deal with an online betting company .

Now, they appear to have landed Infinite Athlete as their main shirt sponsor, days ahead of the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season. No financial terms have been disclosed, but the Daily Mail says the deal is worth at least UK£40 million (US$50.97 million) per season. The agreement with Infinite Athlete is said to be subject to league approval and will cover both Chelsea’s men’s and women’s teams.

Infinite Athlete is the company which was recently rebranded from Tempus Ex Machina, following its acquisition of injury analytics firm Biocore. It provides sports teams a range of tools for a range of services, including creating clips and personalised highlights packages for partners, with the addition of Biocore’s biomechanical engineering specialisms to help teams and athletes understand and prevent injuries.

The firm already had partnered with Chelsea to create customisable broadcasts on the club’s official app during their US pre-season tour, as well as helping enhance fans’ matchday experience at Stamford Bridge. Named as one of SportsPro’s sports technology ideas to invest in class of 2023, it also works with the National Football League’s (NFL) San Francisco 49ers and the Pac-12 college sports conference.

SportsPro has approached Infinite Athlete for comment.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are also reportedly the subject of a Premier League investigation for alleged breaches of financial regulations during Roman Abramovich’s time as owner of the club.

It has been reported current owners Todd Boehly and the Clearlake Capital Consortium, who took over last summer after Abramovich was forced to sell following sanctions as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, flagged the potential issue to the Premier League and Football Association (FA) themselves.

Uefa announced last month it had been approached ‘proactively’ by the club, who agreed to pay €10 million (US$10.9 million) to Europe’s governing body after owning up to ‘incomplete financial reporting’ between 2012 and 2019.

Chelsea said in a statement at the time their new owners became aware of potential impropriety when carrying out a ‘thorough due diligence process’ prior to the purchase.

According to reports, no charges have yet been brought by the Premier League but, even though the allegations relate to a previous ownership, possible sanctions could include a fine or points deduction if the club are found guilty of any wrongdoing.

SportsPro says…

Having spent their entire offseason looking for a new shirt sponsor, Chelsea will be ecstatic to land a deal that could be a slight improvement financially on their previous deal with Three.

The Blues have been keen to secure a contract that is lucrative enough to help them abide by Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, to balance out the UK£1 billion they have spent on players since Boehly and Clearlake’s arrival. There are also funds required to help finance a potential revamp of their stadium, which led to reports last week that the club were looking to secure extra investment.

Placing all their bets on a sponsorship deal with a technology startup comes with multiple risks, however. Infinite Athlete may find it difficult to balance out its desire to scale up its operations and expand, while tied to a big-money deal with the Premier League outfit.

PA Media contributed to this report

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