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Chelsea Signs Sponsorship Deal With Crypto Trading Platform – Crypto News Australia

Chelsea Football Club have landed a £20m sponsorship deal with a digital asset platform as the Premier League side prepare to leave the Roman Abramovich era behind.

WhaleFin, a cryptocurrency trading and lending platform, has agreed to sponsor the London club starting next season, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The deal shows Chelsea’s commercial appeal as Abramovich awaits special clearance from the UK government to complete a sale to a group of investors led by US financier Todd Boehly, who won a competitive auction last week.

Chelsea and WhaleFin agreed the deal in January, a month before Russia invaded Ukraine, the person said.

The war forced Abramovich to put the club up for sale and he was subsequently sanctioned. Chelsea are currently operating under a special license which prevents the club from selling new merchandise and which also includes a freeze on any funds the club receives.

But such advertising deals show how football clubs make agreements with cryptocurrency platforms to increase their commercial revenues.

Premier League rivals Manchester United agreed a training kit sponsorship with blockchain firm Tezos in February. The following month, reigning champions Manchester City announced a global partnership with crypto exchange OKX.

Chelsea and other clubs in the Premier League have a global reach with transfer deals worth more than £10billion over the next three seasons and social media accounts with millions of followers. This scale has helped sports teams increase sponsorship revenue through crypto partnerships.

Boehly’s group, which includes investment firm Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter, CEO of Guggenheim Partners, and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, acquired Chelsea for £2.5 billion, a sum that will be deposited in a UK bank account and frozen.

The government has insisted Abramovich cannot benefit from the proceeds, and the oligarch has promised to donate the money to charity.

The group plans to invest a further £1.75bn in Chelsea.

The club are also looking for a new main shirt sponsor after telecoms giant Three decided to suspend their partnership after the UK put Abramovich under sanctions in March, the person said.

Chelsea are under additional pressure to generate commercial revenue as the 40,000-seat Stamford Bridge stadium is much smaller than the stadiums of major European rivals such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Chelsea’s commercial earnings for the 2020-21 season totaled £153m, around 35 per cent of the £434m total. The club made most of it from broadcast deals which totaled £273million.

However, Abramovich funded Chelsea for two decades after buying the club for £140million in 2003, acquiring top players to compete in and win the sport’s biggest trophies, including the elite Uefa Champions League and English league title.

Singapore-based Amber Group owns WhaleFin. Amber’s shareholders include Singapore-based investment group Temasek, Sequoia China, Pantera Capital, Tiger Global Management, Tru Arrow Partners and Coinbase Ventures.

Amber, which conducts trades on behalf of clients among other crypto services, raised $200 million from investors in February in a funding round that valued the company at $3 billion.

WhaleFin is Amber’s consumer-facing app. The sponsorship deal was first reported by Sky News.

Source: Crypto News Austria

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