Emirates Airline signs 8-year partner deal with FIFA

The world football body, FIFA, today announced that Emirates Airline has booked a "first-class ticket into the heart of world football" by signing up as a FIFA Partner from 2007 to 2014 in the product category Airline Passenger Services. This partnership, sealed by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and Emirates Group Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum at a signing ceremony in Dubai, represents by far the largest sponsorship deal the airline has entered into at a value of $195 million and further underscores the enduring appeal of football.

Emirates becomes the sixth and final FIFA Partner, joining adidas, Hyundai, Sony, Coca-Cola and Visa in the top tier of FIFA's new sponsorship program that awards six blue-chip corporations the highest level of affiliation to FIFA over an eight-year period.

Emirates will enjoy core sponsorship rights to all FIFA competitions, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as well as to the world football governing body's special events and development initiatives. Emirates' association with FIFA began in 2003 when it was an Official Partner of the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. Soon after, the Dubai-based airline signed up as one of 15 Official Partners of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.

"We believe sport is an ideal vehicle to communicate with our passengers and football is a perfect platform for us to share and enjoy their passion and commitment. This Partnership will enable us to achieve global awareness of our brand at football events all around the world as well as in our home territory of Dubai," said Sheikh Al-Maktoum.

“It is our intention for the United Arab Emirates to host a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup during the rights period, which would be the first event of its kind to be held in the Arab world. Emirates becoming a FIFA Partner is good for Emirates, good for Dubai and good for the UAE,” he said further.

In addition to hosting a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Emirates can also choose to host a second official FIFA tournament in the UAE, further enhancing the country’s position as a centre of sporting excellence.

A part of its Partnership status with FIFA is that Emirates has a commitment from FIFA to ensure that at least 22 matches including the opening match, two quarter-finals, two semi-finals, the third place play off and the final of both the 2010 and the 2014 FIFA World Cups may be shown on free-to-air television within the territory of the UAE. Emirates passengers will also benefit as Emirates has the exclusive right to broadcast matches of the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups either live or delayed on its in-flight entertainment systems.

UPDATE

Hisham Al Gizouli in the Khaleej Times (19 April) quoted FIFA president Joseph Sepp Blatter saying that "the future of the game lies in Asia". He wrote that Blatter pointed out to international and local press at the Park Hayatt Hotel in Dubai that "three of their six partners are from Asia where the largest economies and two third of the world's population existed."

See also: Emirates' Singapore boss on World Cup impact 10 Mar) and Will Singapore match the UAE sports challenge? (7 Apr) and
Another European club secures Asian sponsorship (7 Mar) and Emirates outlines its sports sponsorship vision (13 Feb) and Arsenal is England PL's "fastest growing brand" (8 Aug 05)

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