There is £1billion worth of pressure on Chelsea’s new commercial director Chris Townsend when he starts work soon at Stamford Bridge.
Townsend is replacing former Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow, whose team brought in deals worth well over that billion pound mark in two fruitful years before his abrupt departure in February after a fall-out with some members of the club’s board.
On Purslow’s watch, Chelsea signed or renewed deals with Nike, Yokohama, Hublot, Delta, Carabao, Beats, Hotel Tonight and Wipro for numbers on a par with commercial kings Manchester United during that period.
Chris Townsend is soon to begin work as Chelsea’s new commercial director
Townsend can match Purslow’s record having brought in a similar amount of sponsorship money for London 2012 — but he will be hard-pressed to have the same immediate impact at Chelsea with major long-term deals in place, apart from a naming rights agreement.
Both Purslow and Townsend are built in the same abrasive mould and are always keen to be given full credit for their achievements.
So it will be intriguing how Townsend settles in at Chelsea, who preferred to praise Marina Granovskaia, owner Roman Abramovich’s closest aide, for bringing in the £900million Nike deal.
Townsend is replacing former Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow
Olympic rowing champion Dame Katherine Grainger, who won medals at five Games, is to be the new chair of UK Sport with her appointment rushed through on Friday ahead of the General Election.
Grainger, whom Sports Agenda first revealed was in the running for the prestigious post, has no experience of leading sports bodies but has all the knowledge necessary of Olympic competition and what is needed to succeed.
It is understood she was approached to apply after the Government had been underwhelmed with the original shortlist.
Katherine Grainger is the new chair of UK Sport after her appointment on Friday
A number of rugby notables were bemused to receive an invitation to celebrate arch blazer John Spencer’s upcoming presidency of the RFU and being tour manager of the British and Irish Lions — and having to pay £80 a head for the privilege of attending the bash.
However, all proceeds from Spencer’s vanity tribute night at Wharfedale Rugby Club in Yorkshire on August 25 are going to the host rugby club and Cardiac Risk in the Young.
The four-times-married Spencer will be joined by rugby cronies Bill Beaumont, Andy Irvine, John Jeffrey and Derek Quinnell. The RFU have given their support to the event.
Watford have become the second Premier League club after Manchester City to agree a sleeve deal for next season.
Watford have switched bookmaker shirt sponsors 138.com to the sleeve in a four-year deal and found another lead shirt sponsor in city traders FxPro.
Watford have become the second Premier League club to agree a sleeve deal for next season
Daley’s making waves
The power of Tom Daley on social media with his multi-million followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook has led to the world swimming authorities agreeing a UK deal for the FINA Diving World Series to be streamed on the Briton’s own YouTube channel in conjunction with agency Lagardere Sports.
Meanwhile, highly-respected British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes, 68, is to stand down in June.
Involved in swimming for 40 years, he has been in charge of the body since 1994.
Tom Daley’s YouTube channel will stream the FINA Diving World Series this year
BBC Sport, who supposedly devote plenty of attention and unmatched resources to their social media output, posted a deeply distasteful tweet about Ugo Ehiogu after his sad death at the age of 44.
It read: ‘Just look at Ugo Ehiogu’s stats on Championship Manager 2. What a career the ex-Aston Villa man had.’ — together with a screen grab of stats from the game.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘The tweet was an unfortunate error of judgement and was deleted immediately.’
This tweet from the BBC Sport account was later deleted after being labelled disrespectful