Photographer: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Nike Said to Agree to $87 Million Chelsea Apparel Deal

  • Premier League club terminated contract with Adidas last week
  • Nike’s agreement with Chelsea is set to start in July 2017

Chelsea and Nike Inc. have agreed to the second-biggest apparel deal in English soccer. The U.S. sports manufacturer will pay as much as 60 million pounds ($87 million) per season over at least 10 years to outfit the Premier League team starting in 2017, according to people familiar with the matter.

To sign with Nike, Chelsea first had to extricate itself from its existing 10-year, 290 million pound deal with Adidas AG, which had seven years left. The Blues paid more than 50 million euros to break the contract, which had tight restrictions that bar the soccer club from publicly announcing any new deal until after a specified period.

Steve Atkins, Chelsea’s director of communications, declined to comment on the deal, which was reported earlier by The Telegraph. Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins also declined to comment.

Chelsea has been a soccer powerhouse since it was bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003. It’s won four Premier League titles, most recently in 2015, and the European Champions League. That success has helped the Blues to expand their fan base around the world, particularly in Asia. In 2015, Yokohama Rubber Co. agreed to a five-year, 40 million pounds-per-season agreement to be the team’s principal sponsor. 

Only Manchester United, the 20-time English champion, has bettered the Blues’ recent commercial successes. Adidas is paying a record 75 million pounds per season to produce United’s shirts, while shirt sponsor U.S. car giant Chevrolet committed to pay United $559 million through 2021 in a deal signed in 2012.

Chelsea had been with Adidas since 2006, and renewed the agreement for 10 years in 2013. The first Nike shirt will be produced in July 2017 after Chelsea’s official relationship with Adidas ends on June 30, 2017.

(Corrects deal total in second paragraph.)
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