By Barry Janoff
June 25, 2012: Chelsea Football Club, one of the most storied franchises in soccer history, has signed a deal with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines making the carrier its official airline sponsor.
The deal comes as Delta is seeking to expand its footprint in the U.K. and just weeks prior to Chelsea's tour of the U.S. that will include stops in four cities. Delta also plans to build awareness of the partnership during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Financial terms of the multi-year alliance were not disclosed.
Other Chesea FC partners include adidas, jersey sponsor Samsung, Thomas Cook, EA Sports and Signha.
The deal is the second in recent weeks between a U.S.-based company and a U.K. soccer club. General Motors division Chevrolet in May signed a global deal with Manchester United, a rival of Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League.
Delta has several deals with sports franchises in the U.S., including the official airline sponsor of the New York Yankees, the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Delta said this is its first alliance with a U.k.-based soccer club.
Chelsea has an upcoming tour of the U.S. that will include games in Seattle (July 18), at Yankee Stadium in New York (July 22), against the Major League Soccer All-Stars in Philadelphia on July 25 and Miami (July 28).
Marketing support in the U.K. will include signage at Chelsea home games, ads on the team's Web site, the Delta logo on backboards during player interviews and activation on social media including Facebook and Twitter.
During the team's U.S. tour, Delta will have a presence via signage and activation including a dedicated Facebook page in which visitors can participate in a vote to determine which U.S. city will "host a fare promotion from the United States to London this summer. (Full details here.)
"Partnering with [Chelsea] is an exciting way to strengthen our brand around the world while a tie-in with Delta will help build Chelsea's brand in the U.S."
"We're delighted to sponsor Chelsea FC, a top-flight London club with a fan base of millions throughout Delta's worldwide network," Perry Cantarutti, Delta's svp for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in a statement. "Partnering with a leading club in the English Premier League is an exciting way to strengthen our brand both in the U.K. and around the world while a tie-in with Delta will help build Chelsea's brand in the U.S."
According to Chelsea FC CEO Ron Gourlay, "It is a fantastic opportunity for Chelsea Football Club to partner ourselves with Delta Air Lines, an industry leader in aviation.Their passion for innovation and first-class service around the world make them a perfect match for us and we look forward to working together as we continue to develop the Chelsea name across the globe."
PHOTO: Chelsea FC