Chelsea Seal ECN Deal to Market Top Players in China

May 5, 2011

Having agreed a deal with Sportfive to market its players, English Premier League champions Chelsea have sealed a similar agreement with ECN Management to exploit the commercial potential in the Chinese market.

The club control the image rights of nineteen of their highest profile players, including January signings Fernando Torres and David Luiz, and will entrust ECN Management with finding new branding opportunities in China and other countries in the region.

The club are currently looking for new revenue streams as they look to align themselves with UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play rules in order to reduce their dependence on Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea are thought to be in a dangerous position in accordance to the regulations which, from the 2013/14 season, will see UEFA have the right to take action against loss-making clubs participating in continental competition. Chelsea posted a loss of just under US$117m in 2009/10.

Ron Gourlay, the Chelsea chief executive, stressed the importance of ECN’s “local knowledge in China”, adding: “We hope to work closely to build on our players’ image and reputation in China.”

ECN Management managing director Frederick Blackford added: “Football in emerging markets, particularly in China is the most exciting growth business in sports. Chelsea players are some of the most prominent ambassadors of the world game.”