The London football club has signed a two-year deal with US business Delta Air Line, which will become its official global airline partner.
Delta branding will feature on LED boards at every home game as part of the deal, as well as having its own hospitality area at the club’s Stamford Bridge Millennium Hotel.
The move comes ahead of the club’s pre-season tour of the US next month, where Delta has a list of sporting partners including baseball’s New York Yankees team. The continent is the second biggest market for the Premier League after China and will also see the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United visit this summer to reach out to seek out new commercial streams.
Delta is marking the announcement with a Facebook competition to award fans with trips to London.
Perry Cantarutti, Delta’s senior vice-president for EMEA, says the firm with look to leverage Chelsea’s fan base of millions throughout its worldwide network.
“Partnering with a leading club in the English Premier League is an exciting way to strengthen our brand both in the UK and around the world while a tie-in with Delta will help build Chelsea’s brand in the U.S.”
Delta will join the likes of Samsung, Adidas, EA Sports and Singha as the club’s official partners.
Meanwhile, Sunderland has signed a two-year deal with not-for-profit organisation Invest in Africa to become the club’s principal partner and shirt sponsor.
Invest in Africa is a partnership of companies which aim to promote private-sector based business opportunities across the continent.
The partnership marks the first time a Premier League club has singed a shirt-sponsorship with a not-for-profit company as opposed to a charity. It is, according to Sunderland, the most “lucrative” in its history and will help open up a major international market for the club.
Ellis Short, owner and chairman of Sunderland, says: “It is a partnership which sets a new benchmark for the club commercially but what stands out is while doing so, it truly gives something back to both our own region and to a continent which has become a firm part of our club’s success story over recent seasons.
“Extending our relationship will enable us to put the club’s knowledge and experience – allied with its immense global reach as part of the Premier League – fully into practice. It fits perfectly with our own aims as we continue showcasing Sunderland AFC to a global audience which simply loves football.”
Sunderland, which generated €87.9m (£70.4m) in revenue during the 2010-11 season according to Deloitte, first began working with Invest in Africa in January, helping to challenge misconceptions about doing business on the continent.
The deal will help secure the club’s financial future ahead of the 2012-13 season and further strengthens the club’s ties to Africa with Ghanaian trio Asamoah Gyan, John Mensah and Sulley Muntari as well as Beninese Stéphane Sessègnon all playing for the team since 2009.
Sunderland’s official sponsors include Paddy Power, Strongbow and Adidas.