Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Chelsea investing in US soccer

Chelsea have signed a deal with AEG (owner of LA Galaxy, Chicago Fire, DC United and Houston Dynamo) that ties the two together in soccer matrimony. Part of this deal is a special link with LA. Chelsea will now have first option to sign Galaxy players and it will allow young Blues to be loaned to LA to gain experience in MLS.

The two clubs will also share coaching, medical knowledge and personnel.

This relationship might expand to other AEG teams if it is successful.

This is part of Chelsea's strategy to become the most popular European team in the US.

Starting next year, Chelsea will be involved in an every two-year tournament along with a host MLS club.

Paul Smith, Chelsea's business affairs director, had this to say about the agreement:

"Chelsea's involvement in US football will be from top to bottom. We will not just fly in and fly out for the tournaments.

"We will seek to develop a program of activity that will also cover the huge interest in soccer at youth level, as well as the professional game.

"This will be backed up by specially created media programming, such as a US Football Icon (a American Idol type realty TV show), and other marketing activity for the US market.

"By building the profile and interest in Chelsea in this way we are confident we can expand our business and build a platform for increasing our fan base, merchandising and sponsorship opportunities."

All around, this seems like a great advancement for US soccer. Getting a team like Chelsea involved in the league is only going to make things better. Playing for the Galaxy suddenly looks even better.


Anonymous nico said...

I wonder why the special relationship with LA?

Perhaps because the English want someplace consistently sunny & warm to visit?

2:41 PM  
Anonymous J. Michael said...

I think this will be good for MLS. Like the previous commenter, I wonder why LA?

It could be that Chelsea want more fans among our glitterati.

2:46 PM  
Blogger thatkidinthecorner said...

Interesting move from the Chelsea biznass folks; still, there's plenty that one could to be clever about building a fan base in the US:

5:02 PM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Nico and J,

Why LA?

My guess is it came down to Chicago or LA. I say this because these both have stadiums.

Do you think that a team like Chelsea wants to send their up and coming players to a team that plays on an American football pitch? I don't. That goes double if it is a turf field like Houston.

The fact that AEG is looking for buyers for both Houston and DC, might also help explain why they are out of the running.

So that leaves Chicago or LA. Maybe it just came down to a coin flip or maybe it was the whole Los Angeles name thing. Or maybe they just wanted the initial articles concerning this move to link Chelsea with the "MLS Champions."

kid, I think Chelsea wants the US market bad.

8:07 PM  

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