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Chelsea’s Fans Take Stand Against Crypto Casino 

Penny June 28, 2023

For years, sponsorship deals have given teams in the English Premier League significant financial boosts, especially for those that haven’t earned entry to one of the Europe-wide cup competitions. That’s the situation that Chelsea finds itself in.

However, its fans are not too keen on the club’s prospective sponsors for the upcoming season.

Chelsea FC flag

The English Premier League is probably the UK’s current greatest export. It’s watched around the world as millions of eyeballs turn to the worldwide coverage of Europe’s top domestic soccer league. As such, it’s a lucrative business. The clubs that participate in the competition are guaranteed hundreds of millions of dollars just for turning up. The majority of that comes from the league’s groundbreaking broadcasting deals. On top of that, the visibility afforded to the clubs in England’s top division means that companies are keen to be associated with them. 

Given that Chelsea finished outside of European qualification places, the West London club will need to find separate financial revenue streams to meet the league’s Financial Fair Play regulations. The recent transfer outlay of around $1 billion has left the club in an interesting financial predicament. Qualifying to the Champions League affords clubs a minimum of $15 million. That is the minimum. Playing in elite competition brings more money than that, though. As participation in the cup’s group and knock-out stages qualifies the clubs involved as amongst the biggest in world soccer, the amount of money they can demand from sponsors and partners is much higher. With that said, not playing in Europe means that a team loses some of its luster in the eyes of sponsors. Chelsea’s most recent sponsorship by cell phone carrier Three has run out and the loss of stature has led to the company deciding not to renew. Now, the two-time Champions League winners need to find a new supporter.


One Sponsor Blocked, One Sponsor Opposed

Chelsea’s hierarchy will have thought that they had everything sewn up ready for the 2023/24 season. They had managed to navigate a deal with the streaming platform Paramount+ and felt like they had achieved something of a coup. Instead, though, the Premier League chiefs decided that it wasn’t in the best interests of the competition and its broadcasters. They blocked the move based on the belief that this sponsorship deal would cause considerable upset to its streaming and broadcasting partners. That left the club owned by Todd Boehly in an interesting scenario. They had a guaranteed shirt sponsor that would have guaranteed global exposure and a quick fix to their recent financial woes. Instead, they were right back at square one and needing to widen their search for a kit partner. One of the proposed companies, however, has provoked some ire from the fans of the club. is described as a crypto casino and sportsbook. It’s become a big name in the iGaming sphere and has already got something of a foothold in British soccer. The online casino already sponsors another crisis-laden club that plays in blue. It has been the main shirt sponsor of Everton since 2022. So, what’s the issue? The main problem is regarding the stance that British soccer has taken on gambling sponsors. The Premier League plans to implement a voluntary gambling sponsor ban from the 2026/27 season. And that’s the problem that Chelsea fans have with the potential partnership with Stake. Given that this will only be a short-term deal, it appears short-sighted to partner with a company from an industry that is out of favor in the game. The fans expressed their distaste, with 77% of those surveyed saying they opposed working with the gambling operator. A spokesperson explained that it would “make a mockery” of the initiatives that the Chelsea Foundation has taken part in to reduce the harm of gambling. Because of this, it looks like it could be a non-starter for the club.


An Uncertain Summer for the Club

It’s never a good sign when a soccer club goes into its league season without a defined main sponsor. Last year, Nottingham Forest began the season without a sponsor before launching a charity partnership with UNICEF. The side had been recently promoted so found themselves with an embarrassment of riches compared to the previous season. However, in 2010/11 Championship side Middlesbrough couldn’t find a partner and had to offer sponsorship deals on a rolling monthly basis in order to generate cash for transfers and wages. It’s clear to see, then, that Chelsea could do with having the business wrapped up before the start of the season and the end of the summer transfer window.

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