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25 February 2014

Where are they now? Chris Madsen, Partnerships Manager, Chelsea Football Club

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Landing in Jakarta for a pre-season tour match with Chelsea FC and seeing thousands of people fanatically chasing the team bus through the city was a highlight of my career so far. It showed the reach of the brand that I work for.

Before joining Chelsea I worked for London Irish Rugby Club. When it was time to move I was recommended to f1 for its considered approach, its interest in what’s best for you and where you might be in ten years’ time. I knew I wanted to stay in sport and within the partnerships area. I said I didn’t want to work for another sports club but I was encouraged to see Chelsea as a leading global brand as much as a football club. The more I researched and talked to people the more I realised what a great move it would be. I went to other interviews with agencies and governing bodies but the attraction of this job at Chelsea was clear – the gravitas of working within the football industry and the opportunity to work for one of the world’s biggest clubs and sports brands. The knock-on effect of this is that I work on a daily basis with other, equally prestigious, global brands and that’s what has been so exciting about my role here. I joined more than three years ago and I love it.

My job has evolved over those three years. I look after partners that include Samsung, Singha Beer and Rotary Watches and I work closely with our Asian office in Singapore on activation within Asian markets and regional deals. Our biggest fan base is in the Asian market so this is where we focus a lot of effort and time. What I most enjoy is working with a range of different brands across various industries and being involved in the creation and implementation of partnership deals to ensure Chelsea becomes a successful partner for them. That’s where the real interest is for me and where I believe the challenges and opportunities for my future are.

My professional aim is to continue to do new and ground breaking things within the industry and this is complemented by Chelsea’s ambition to be not just the best on the field but to be the best off it as well.

My top tip for working in sport is: Don’t be hung up on the fact you love sport. Everyone does! Gain a good understanding of the business behind sport and its challenges and opportunities. Don’t look at sport only as what happens on the field of play, where the results are out of your control, rather, look at all the things you can control. Open your eyes to other sponsorships outside of sport because this will help you to work out why a brand is willing to invest in you. Learn from other industries. What are brands doing elsewhere and why?