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Chelsea's Ad Deal With 188Bet May Crimp It With International Brands Who Want the U.S. Too

Chelsea F.C. has signed a three-year advertising partnership with 188Bet to promote the online gambling brand and the club in Asia. The deal does not affect U.S. territories because online gambling is illegal in America.

188Bet's rights with Chelsea in Asia now prevent any brand that wants an exclusive global position with Chelsea -- including both the U.S. and Asia -- from securing the deal niche now taken by 188Bet in Asia. (The kind of brands who might want such rights are soda companies, or even Samsung, for whom a low-millions deal would be a mere bagatelle.)

That is theoretically significant because Chelsea believes its U.S. market is growing. The club played a highly successful flight of summer games in the U.S against international teams:

The club's face-offs against the Seattle Sounders, Internazionale, AC Milan, and Club American resulted in a combined total audience of 274,945 â€" the largest four-match figures in the country's history.
In the 188Bet Asia deal, Chelsea players will be used in ads and commercials to promote gambling.

188Bet dare not expand its deal with Chelsea to the U.S. because prosecutors here have taken a hard line on web-betting. BetonSports founder Gary Kaplan last week pled guilty to conspiracy and violating wagering laws. He agreed to pay $43 million and serve two-plus years in federal prison.

The 188Bet deal will be a welcome but marginal event in Chelsea's finances. The club owes its owner something in the region of £750 million.

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