The two intriguing reasons Three won the £200m race to become Chelsea’s new shirt sponsor

Chelsea are back in familiar territory after choosing UK telecommunications firm Three as its main shirt sponsor from next season.

The side that tore up the Premier League under Jose Mourinho more than a decade ago did so with another telecoms giant, Samsung Mobile, splashed across their chests.

Japanese tyre manufacturer Yokohama Tyres will cease to appear on the club’s shirts in the 2020/21 campaign as their £40million-a-year deal comes to an end this summer.

At the time it was signed by the Blues it was second only to Manchester United’s tie-up with Chevrolet in the Premier League in value, and was said to be worth £200million in full.

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However, Yokohama have not entirely severed ties with the club either, staying on as official tyre partner for the west Londoners.

It is unclear how much Three will be paying but they have sweetened their deal with Chelsea by promising to ensure Stamford Bridge is 5G-enabled within the first year of the partnership, with patchy mobile signature at games a grumble of the modern football fan.

What’s more, Chelsea promoted the deal as being a far more holistic partnership, noting how the firm was among the biggest social media draws in the world, with an app downloaded by millions.

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Telecommunication have previously been one of the most dominant sectors in football shirt sponsorship, and the deal with Three could be something of a resurgence.

The early and mid 2000s were the zenith for the industry in the Premier League, with the three most successful sides – Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United – sponsored by O2, Samsung Mobile and Vodafone, respectively.

Alcohol and technology companies were popular had been popular in the late 1990s while gambling firms began to takeover in the late 2000s, especially among clubs outside the traditional elite.



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