According to a Bloomberg report, Samsung have exercised their option to renew their partnership with Chelsea for yet another three seasons. The Korean giant will remain on the Chelsea shirt, where they have featured since 2005, until 2015. The extension will see Samsung continue to pay £15m per year to sponsor the club.
While there are positives to the stability of the deal, there are definite negatives too. As defending European champions, renewing our shirt sponsor deal after this season or last would have provided a boost in the value of any sponsorship. With our stadium capacity, and thus matchday revenue, frozen for the time being, every penny of added revenue helps a great deal with our ability to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations.
That's not to say the combination of our being perennially at the top of the table and a recent Champions League winner won't help us in the future, but our profile, and the sponsorship offers which accompany it, are unlikely to be higher than now.* With teams such as Liverpool, Sunderland, and the Manchester clubs on £20m per season, being stuck on £15m for three more years isn't exactly great news.
I know what you're saying. "It's only £5m per year, and since the Premier League TV deal means we're going to get c. £30m extra per year, it doesn't matter that much." Yes, in the Swiss Ramble article we shared with you yesterday, the effect of the new television rights revenue means a difference of £5m per year isn't going to kill us, but that doesn't mean it's ideal. If you think about it, though, over the course of the three years, it's a minimum of £15m lost to our rivals on top of their existing match revenue advantage. It's worse than that, though.
With Chevrolet's new bumper deal handing Manchester United an additional £11m in each of the next two seasons and sky rocketing to £45m p/a when they take over from Aon in two seasons' time, Chelsea risk being left behind as sponsorship rates explode. As I said, it's definitely good to have a stable sponsor, but a lower deal could be a trap for us. Look at Arsenal, who are stuck in a far-too-low deal with Emirates related to their new stadium. They're certainly awaiting the day they can find a new deal, being on just £5.5m p/a.
Renewing with Samsung isn't all doom and gloom. After all, £15m still gives one of the top shirt sponsor deals in world football, all things considered. It also looks good on the shirt. Aesthetic concerns are always underrated in shirt sponsor deals. I know the extra cash would be nice, but we can probably deal with it, given our strategy of adding piecemeal partnerships, such as with Gazprom and Audi. At the end of the day, be glad. We could always have ended up with whatever this is supposed to be.
*At least until we win it again. ; )
UPDATE: The Daily Mail's report on the deal has it at £18m p/a, which is better, but ultimately still less than the probable market rate. If this is the case, then while we're losing money we could have had, it's not nearly as much as we believed it was.