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Uber taps Chelsea FC partnership to deliver club kits to soccer fans

Ride-sharing application Uber is leveraging a partnership with British soccer club Chelsea FC to deliver the team’s limited-edition club kits to riders in select cities worldwide.

The cross-marketing opportunity may open new doors for Uber, which now faces increasing competition from fellow taxi apps such as Lyft and RideScout. It also may prompt fans of Chelsea FC to use Uber over another app in the hopes of receiving one of the kits, which will be available to Uber customers five days prior to the rest of the public.

“Uber is rushing to cash in on the delivery business,” said Gary Schwartz, president and CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. “It is a tremendous growth market that will pit the company against Leviathans like Amazon.

“With Volvo innovating on personal car delivery and Instacart trying to capture the grocery market, Uber is partnering with Chelsea to show that it can deliver and delight in eight cities globally ‘directly to the fan’s doorstep.’”

Popular delivery models
Consumers in eight cities around the world will be eligible to have one of the Chelsea FC Adidas kits delivered to their doorsteps before they step into their ride. The Barclays Premier League champions’ kits will be distributed to the lucky customers before they go on sale to the public on July 22.

Adidas fans may also clamor to get their hands on the exclusive shirts for the 2015 to 2016 season, especially as they will come free of charge to those who manage to snag a “Chelsea” vehicle via the app.

Interested consumers must download Uber for iOS or Android smartphones and enter their city’s promotional code to view the Chelsea-branded vehicles nearby. They may then request one of the vehicles and receive their free kit when the driver pulls up to their location.

Uber is urging its users to act fast, as demand is expected to be extremely high, with limited availability.

The promotion will be available in Los Angeles, New York City, Cape Town, Moscow, Mumbai, Shanghai, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. The promotional codes consist of CHELSEAFC with the respective city’s abbreviation after it, such as CHELSEAFCNYC for New York City and CHELSEAFCRIO for Rio de Janeiro.

Cross-marketing blitz
Uber has previously held major brand partnerships to raise consumer awareness and drive more rides taken with its app.

This past May, Uber aligned itself with music fans by offering rides to and from more than 60 Live Nation events at festivals, clubs and theaters this season, boosting its presence through another partnership to satisfy consumers’ mobile-driven demand for convenience (see story).

The ridesharing app also continued expanding its reach by partnering with Capital One in April to reward cardholders who use its transportation network (see story).

Ultimately, the Chelsea FC partnership is likely to work well on a global scale, particular as the app aims to ramp up revenue abroad. The sheer popularity of soccer in foreign countries, coupled with the Chelsea FC name, will lend support to Uber and may contribute to a sudden spike in requested rides.

“We are thrilled to team up with Chelsea FC — one of the top football teams in the world — for this exclusive promotion, which represents a first for Uber in the world of sports,” said Fraser Robinson, head of business at Uber, London.

“We are always looking for ways to make the Uber experience even better for our millions of riders worldwide, and can’t wait to deliver Chelsea’s highly anticipated kits to fans.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York