Monday December 4, 2023

U.K. Takes Over Chelsea Sale, Sponsors Back Off

  • Bidders for Chelsea have been told to direct inquiries to the British government.
  • Todd Boehly expressed confident he will purchase the club.
Chelsea FC/Design: Alex Brooks
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Chelsea FC is still on the market, but the seller has changed.

Potential bidders for the Premier League club have been told to direct their offers to the British government

The United Kingdom seized the team on Thursday as part of a broad set of sanctions against team owner Roman Abramovich for his alleged ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.

  • Abramovich attempted to offload the club before sanctions hit, seeking $4 billion.
  • Chelsea is the seventh-most-valuable soccer team in the world, per Forbes, with a $3.2 billion valuation. 
  • The UK ceased all new merchandise and ticket sales related to the club. It provided Chelsea a special license, later amended to allow for more spending to pay staff, travel, and host matches.
  • Barclays temporarily suspended Chelsea’s bank account while it assesses the license.

Potential bidders are reportedly undeterred by the situation. The team brought in $570.2 million in 2021 revenue.

Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly expressed confidence that he will purchase the club. On Wednesday, Boehly freed up capital with the $787.2 million sale of investment company CBAM Partners to Carlyle Group.

Sponsors Getting Cold Feet

Chelsea’s corporate partners have become wary of having their names associated with the team. Mobile phone company Three, which pays around $52.2 million for a jersey sponsorship, said Thursday that it is suspending its sponsorship and asked for its logo to be removed from the team’s kits.

Hyundai is also assessing its Chelsea sponsorship. Nike is in the midst of a 15-year, $1.2 billion partnership with the club.

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