Chelsea hoped for a shirt sponsor from American streaming service Paramount+. Inter Milan donned the service’s logo on the front of its shirt during the UEFA Champions League Final. However, due to concerns of damaging the Premier League’s relationship with current broadcast partners, the league barred the sponsorship deal from happening.

Chelsea hoped to complete a deal where Paramount would pay a massive fee to put its logo on Chelsea’s kit. There was no reported fee for how much it paid to be on Inter Milan’s kit at the end of the 2022/23 campaign. However, talks between Paramount+ and Chelsea were at an advanced stage for a deal, according to the Daily Mail.

Even though Paramount+ does not broadcast soccer in England, the league thought BT Sport and Sky Sports would not be overly thrilled with this deal. Still, Paramount+ is not a direct competitor to those. It is, however, to NBC and Peacock for American audiences. NBC signed a massive six-year contract with the Premier League worth $2.6 billion. Peacock is a direct competitor to Paramount+. In addition to broadcasting live sports, both have ample entertainment options. Perhaps that impacted the deal with the Premier League and CBS.

The Premier League cited the Deed of License as its reason to shut down the deal. That covers several facets of media and licensing rights with Premier League clubs. Still, the move to stop the agreement surprised Chelsea, which is now scrambling for a sponsor.

Chelsea needed Paramount+ as a shirt sponsor

The club’s deal with Three, a phone and internet service provider, expired at the end of the 2022/23 campaign. Rather than re-upping its deal, Three wanted to move away from Chelsea as a result of the club’s connection to Roman Abramovich. Even though the Russian billionaire sold the club to American Todd Boehly, Three is still ready to move on.

Now that the Paramount+ shirt sponsor fell through, Chelsea requires a replacement. Some of the contenders are familiar faces when it comes to kits. The leading candidate now is Stake, an online betting company. The main issue with this is that betting sponsorships are going to be banned beginning with the 2026/27 season. That means any deal with Stake could last just three seasons.

Allianz, which is a principal sponsor of Bayern Munich, is also a candidate. Regardless, Stake appears to be the leader for the race to Chelsea’s main kit sponsor.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Sebastian Frej