Chelsea have signed a sponsorship agreement with Yokohama Rubber worth £40m-a-year over five years.
The Japanese company will become Chelsea's shirt sponsor in what Chelsea describe as their 'largest ever commercial deal…placing Chelsea right at the top of European football.'
That's certainly the case, although they're not quite on top as Manchester United's deal with Chevrolet is still the biggest in world football.
The Daily Telegraph reported the deal earlier today but Chelsea have only confirmed the details this evening. The agreement will see Yokohama Rubber replace Samsung on the front of Chelsea's shirts from the beginning of the 2015/16 season.
"It is an absolute pleasure to welcome Yokohama as our new Official Shirt Partner and we look forward to a successful relationship with them,” said Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck.
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“Chelsea and Yokohama are a perfect fit. Both are global organisations with a focus on performance and innovation, as well as having huge ambition and an unwavering culture of success.
“We believe that Yokohama will play a key role in helping us drive our global expansion in international markets such as the US, where they have operated with distinction for many years. Also, of course, Chelsea having such an esteemed and historic Japanese company as our partner enables us to accelerate our development in their home market too.
"We are also looking forward to working with Yokohama on our community projects around the world through the Chelsea Foundation, when together we can use the power of sport as a force for good.
"I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Samsung, with whom we have had a successful and rewarding relationship since 2005. Chelsea has demonstrated through that 10-year partnership that we can play a critical role in helping our partners achieve their global growth objectives. We look forward to accomplishing similar success with Yokohama.”
Chelsea's deal here is another step in their growth off-the-field, as Roman Abramovich looks to make the Stamford Bridge club financially secure under UEFA's new Financial Fair Play rules.
Commercial deals such as this mean that Chelsea are less likely in the future to be forced to rely on handouts from the Russian owner, at least in theory.
That's good news for Chelsea fans who want the club to become self-sufficient, although probably not such good news for Premier League rivals hoping for the worst case scenario should Abramovich bolt from his west London playground.
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