Chelsea Football Club was founded in 1905 and is one of the most popular football clubs in the world. With more than 500 million followers worldwide, the club’s global fanbase increases each year due to its continued on-field success, indicated by its position as the reigning Premier League Champions. The club operates a successful licensing program in the UK and abroad, with licensees signed in growing football markets such as the U.S. and Far East and agencies appointed in Poland and other international markets. Chelsea’s licensed product range includes everything from apparel and collectibles to digital products such as branded mobile keyboards, email addresses, and a math app.
Before signing with Dependable Solutions, all approvals, royalty tracking, and other facets of licensing management were conducted in-house and primarily on paper, according to licensing manager Mark Bell. For approvals, for example, licensees filled out a form and emailed it to Chelsea, where it was printed out and filed. “With 80 – 100 licensees, it was a big project,” Mark Bell says, adding, “The brand is growing massively year-on-year, and we’re getting interest in more countries and more categories. So it became necessary to automate in order to better see what our licensees are doing in what territories.”
One of the key drivers behind Chelsea FC’s selection of Dependable Solutions was that many of the other Premier League football clubs were already using it. “We could mirror the same system,” Mark explains.
Chelsea has been using Dependable Rights Manager for about two years, implementing approvals first, followed by royalty-tracking. Having the approval and royalty processes automatically tied to the contract simplifies the process and makes it easy to see right away if there are any problems, Mark says.
He explains that the number of reports he receives, and the detail of the information contained in them, is a great additional benefit. “We see a lot of information with just the press of a button,” said Mark. “It saves so much time, and it is so much easier than tracking in Excel spreadsheets. And DSI’s staff are good people who are great to work with.”
Chelsea uses lots of licensing agents, master licensees, and sub-licensees around the world. Currently, the sub-licensees are reporting through the agents. The club is in the process of implementing DRM’s Participation Manager module, which will bring all the partners into the same system. Automating periodic reminders and notifications to all the parties involved with the brand will save even more time, Mark believes.