For Chelsea supporters, the club's iconic blue uniform represents 114 years of history, dozens of domestic and continental trophies and a reputation as one of English soccer's established giants.

For Yokohama Rubber, it represents global exposure, whether it's to the English Premier League's billions of viewers or simply to anyone who spots the blue shirt emblazoned with the Yokohama Tyres logo being worn on the street.

The Tokyo-based tire manufacturer is hardly the first Japanese firm to sponsor a European club — Sharp, JVC, Sony, Hitachi and Nintendo all graced the front of a major club's uniform at one point or another.