Chelsea and sportswear giant Adidas announced this week that they had mutually agreed to end their partnership six years ahead of schedule, giving the London club to chase greater riches elsewhere from the end of next season.
Adidas stated that they were “Continuing the concentration process that is part of our sports sponsorship strategy.” However, according to the Daily Mail, the split was initiated by Chelsea, with the club said to have become disillusioned with what they perceived as Adidas focusing on other partners such as Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Chelsea’s 10-year deal with Adidas, worth £30 million a year was a record when it was signed in 2013, but that has since been dwarfed. With the London club reported to have had to pay at least £40 million to cut the sponsorship short, the obvious conclusion is that the club has a far more lucrative arrangement lined up.
Here’s a look at where Chelsea currently stand among the 10 most lucrative kit deals among European clubs.
Manchester United (Adidas, $108 million a season)
Manchester United secured the most lucrative kit partnership in all of soccer when inking a deal with Adidas to take over from Nike from this season. As one of the world’s most popular teams, behind only Barcelona and Real Madrid in terms of social media followers, and one of the most successful in the past 20 years, it is easy to see the attraction. However, they could be about to miss out on the prestigious Champions League for a second time in three years, which could see their earnings from Adidas reduced.
Bayern Munich (Adidas, $68 million a season)
Bayern Munich have become one of Europe’s elite brand of “super clubs” in recent years, reaching the last four of the Champions League for the last five seasons, winning the trophy in 2013. And the German giants earned a massive reward for that success last year when signing a $1.2 billion 15-year contract with German company Adidas.
Real Madrid (Adidas, $43 million a season)
Manchester United will not remain at the top of the list. When signed in 2012, Real Madrid’s eight-year-deal with Adidas was the record holder, and they are set to imminently regain that position. The most successful club in the history of the European Cup, with a chance to win an 11th title in the Champions League final later this month, are reportedly set to sign an extension with Adidas worth $160 million a year.
Arsenal (Puma, $43 million a season)
Arsenal were rewarded for their remarkable consistency in qualifying for the Champions League every year since 1998 when Puma persuaded them to end their 20-year association with Nike with a $215 million five-year deal in 2014. The move increased Puma’s presence in the soccer market, having also partnered with German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund and new Premier League champions Leicester City.
Chelsea (Adidas, $43 million a season)
Chelsea were on top of the world when they signed their current deal with Adidas a year after winning the Champions League title for the first time. This season, though, has been one of immense disappointment, with the club set to finish in midtable a year on from reclaiming the Premier League title. Despite missing out on the Champions League for next season, the decision to split with Adidas suggests they have a far more substantial partnership lined up.
Barcelona (Nike, $40 million a season)
Barcelona are currently the flagship team for Nike, and have brought the U.S. sportswear giant plenty of exposure in recent years. While the Catalan club were knocked out of the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage this season, they had won it four times in the previous 10 seasons, They are also one of the world’s most popular teams, and thus it is no surprise that the club is believed to be getting a substantial increase from Nike after the current deal expires in 2018. Reports suggest it could be as much as $114 million a year.
Liverpool (New Balance, $36 million a season)
Liverpool signed up for a six-year partnership with Warrior in 2012, before switching to Warrior’s parent company New Balance last year. It t is the biggest kit supplier deal in the club’s history and reflects Liverpool’s global reach, even if they have failed to come close to their former glories in recent years. In this year’s Europa League final and seemingly on the rise under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool could become even more attractive to sponsors in the coming years.
Juventus (Adidas, $26 million a season)
After a bleak few years following the Calciopoli scandal, Juventus have returned to prominence to dominate Italy’s Serie A. They claimed their fifth consecutive championship this season and went all the way to the Champions League final last June. With that success, and the presence of young star Paul Pogba, Adidas will surely feel the $158 million six-year deal they signed with Juventus, which came into force at the start of this season, represents value for money.
Paris Saint-Germain (Nike, $23 million a season)
Paris Saint-Germain have come a long way in the five years since being taken over by the Qatar Investment authority. They have now won four successive Ligue Un titles and have been regulars in the Champions League knockout phase. This year they even rose to fourth place on Deloitte’s Football Money League, helped in part by the long-term extension they signed with Nike in 2013.
AC Milan (Adidas, $19 million a season)
Adidas extended their relationship with Milan three years ago all the way through to 2023, worth a total of $215 million. The company is unlikely to be thrilled, though, by Milan’s performance since. While they are one of the continent’s most successful clubs, winning seven European Cups, they will now spend a second successive season outside the Champions League.