Business Technology

Chelsea mimics Manchester United with use of tech for fan experience

3 min read

04 September 2015

Chelsea FC's partnership with IT outsourcer Wipro comes a day after a remarkably similar deal was announced between HCL Technologies and English Premier League club Manchester United.

Manchester United, according to Brand Finance, has struggled on the field since manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. However, off the field it has continued to sign a string of lucrative commercial agreements.

This has included a £750m ten-year kit deal with Adidas and the prospect of a three-year TV deal starting in 2016, worth more than £5bn in domestic rights alone.

In an effort to satisfy its global fan base’s appetite for the club, Manchester United also recently announced a partnership with HCL Technologies – India’s fourth largest IT services company – to build digital products that would help supporters connect better with Old Trafford and the team.

Manchester United’s group managing director Richard Arnold, said: “Through this digital transformation we hope to change the way in which our fans experience and interact with Manchester United. Together with HCL we aim to develop innovative ways to connect with our fans around the world, providing a blueprint for other global organisations.”

The latter statement has already been proven true, with Chelsea FC announcing its partnership with Indian technology company Wipro – India’s third largest IT services company – just one day later.

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According to Christian Purslow, managing director of the club, Chelsea plans on “using technology to help sustain the club’s position as the digital leader in global sport.”

The financial details of Wipro’s deal with Chelsea are yet to be disclosed. As per the deal, Wipro will help Chelsea transform the digital experience of its fans in the stadium.

There will be two specific areas we will be working in,” said Wipro digital head Rajan Kohli in The Economic Times. “Firstly, Chelsea is very keen to increase the quality of fan experience in the stadium. You call it connected stadium, you call it digital experience – and that’s key to the club. And we will be working to enhance that. Secondly, Chelsea is very keen to stay engaged with its fans when they are not in the stadium.”

As part of the deal, Wipro will assist Chelsea in gaining fans in other countries. In India, the club has over 50m supporters. 

Purslow said: “It’s exciting to enter into a global partnership with Wipro given its significant presence and brand coverage in India – a market where we have over 50 million passionate supporters and where there is great potential to further build our fan base.”