Chelsea agree deal with gaming firm

LONDON - Chelsea have signed a three-year partnership with online gaming firm 188BET with a focus on growing the club's brand in Asia.

Without giving exact figures, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon described the agreement as a "multi-million pound deal" that would help Chelsea develop their business.

"Betting is a very large category and we spent over two years looking at the right partner," Kenyon told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"Their objective in developing their brand is very similar to Chelsea's. There's a committed marketing spend to the deal, focused on the Asia and Pacific territories, an area where we want to concentrate some of our international development."

188BET have made a major expansion into the Premier League this year, becoming shirt sponsors of both Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers and signing a betting deal with Aston Villa.

Andy Scott, the company's CEO, said Premier League clubs had realised what a good fit their sport was with gambling.

"Betting and football are so intertwined socially and historically that it's a great fit," Scott told Reuters by telephone.

"There is an appetite there because they see this is a genuine strategic partnership whereas in the past betting partners were seen very much as just a commercial sale."