Chelsea buys out Adidas deal 6 yrs early to sign with rival

LONDON – Chelsea is buying its way out of a sponsorship with sportswear giant Adidas six years early to sign up with a rival jersey maker.

Adidas has been a sponsor and sportswear supplier of Chelsea since 2006, with the Premier League club signing a new 10-year-deal in 2013 worth a reported 30 million pounds (now $43 million) a year.

The German company said Wednesday that it will receive compensation from Chelsea to end the deal early at the end of the 2016-17 season, allowing the London club to “enter a new equipment agreement with a competitor.”

Adidas, which also makes the Manchester United kits, said it will “partner with fewer assets on a team level.”

Chelsea began a five-year jersey sponsorship with Japanese tire manufacturer Yokohama this season.

The club’s standing in soccer has taken a hit this season because of a miserable defence of its Premier League title. Chelsea can only finish in ninth place, at best.