Chelsea Football Club reportedly hosted a delegation from Riyadh Air last Saturday during the club’s match against Nottingham Forest, in which top Chelsea officials made a pitch for Riyadh Air to become the new Chelsea front-of-shirt sponsor.
Riyadh Air was only created earlier this year, and the carrier doesn’t plan to start flying until 2025 at the earliest, although that hasn’t stopped the airline from making its presence felt on the international stage.
Bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Riyadh Air has already secured front-of-short sponsorship rights for Atlético de Madrid and the airline is said to be actively shopping for other top sports sponsorship deals.
Chelsea could be a perfect match for the airline as the club actively seeks a front-of-shirt sponsor after mobile phone company Three ended with contract with the team earlier this year.
So far this season, Chelsea has been playing without a front-of-shirt sponsor while the club pursues two potential sponsors. Along with Riyadh Air, the club is also said to be in talks with a sports betting company, according to a report in The Atheltic.
Chelsea has had sponsorship deals with several Persian Gulf airlines, including Bahrain’s Gulf Air, which had front-of-shirt sponsorship rights between 1983 and 1984 and Emirates, which sponsored the club between 2001 and 2005.
Earlier this year, Chelsea also announced a separate sponsorship deal with Oman Air which gave the airline rights to paint one of its aircraft in Chelsea colours.
Last month, Riyadh Air secured a multiyear agreement with Atlético de Madrid as the official airline partner and front-of-shirt sponsor.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.