Chelsea FC overhauls commercial team

Chelsea Football Club has restructured its commercial division following the departure of its head of marketing Ben Wells.

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The club has overhauled the division to increase its focus on sponsorship and boosting Chelsea’s brand overseas, particularly in Asia.

Former Diageo global category director Steve Cumming has joined the club as head of sponsorship for Europe, USA and South America to help to convert Chelsea’s growing global fanbase into revenue.

He, in part, replaces Wells who managed both the marketing and sponsorship departments during his six year tenure at the club. The head of marketing role will cease to exist under the new structure.

Chelsea has also appointed Adrian New as Chelsea’s managing director for Asia Pacific, another new role at the club.

New will implement Chelsea’s brand and commercial strategy, building on its already existing presence in the region, which was highlighted by its “Here to Play, Here to Stay” pre-season tour in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Prior to joining Chelsea, New was senior vice president of the World Sport Group, responsible for all sponsorship sales revenue across the company and helping to build properties such as the Barclays Singapore Open and the OneAsia golf tournament.

Both new recruits will work alongside head of global image rights Andy Dart and report directly to chief executive Ron Gourlay.

Chelsea’s sponsorship activation manager Ed Connock has been promoted to head of sponsor activation, the lead role in the creation of and implementation of brand development strategies for the Asian and North American markets.

The football club today (21 September) signed a three year deal with the Barbados Tourism Authority to help promote the island in the UK, North American and the Caribbean. The partnership will allow Chelsea to engage with fans in the Caribbean and hold events in the region.

A number of other English Premier League football clubs have also set their sights on the Asia Pacific region as UK revenue growth from football fans becomes “saturated”.

Manchester United has applied to float on the Singapore Stock Exchange; Arsenal is focusing on increasing its membership scheme’s attractiveness to international fans by opening up access to its online TV player and including unlockable Facebook content; and Liverpool recently appointed Nike UK’s marketing chief Graham Bartlet to “globalise” its brand.

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