Emirates Airline in $195 million 7-year partnership with Fifa

 MUMBAI: Dubai-based Emirates Airline has signed a $ 195 million partnership deal with soccer's international governing body, which would give it sponsorship rights to all Fifa competitions for eight years from 2007 on.


With this sponsorship deal, the airline's largest ever, Emirates becomes the sixth and final major sponsor of Fifa, joining the likes of Coca-Cola, Visa, Adidas, Sony and Hyundai.

The airlines will will be the official carrier to all Fifa events - including both the 2010 (South Africa) and 2014 (in South America) World Cups.


Emirates, which is already one among the 15 commercial partners of the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany, expects to double in size by the end of its Fifa deal in 2014. These include Anheuser-Busch, Avaya, Continental, Deutsche Telekom, Fujifilm, Gillette, McDonald’s, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo!.

Last November, Coca-Cola and Fifa extended their partnership in a deal reportedly worth about $500 million. That agreement runs through 2022, making the soft drinks giant the only sponsor to commit for so long.

Fifa has said it would now move into the second phase of negotiations for 2007-2014, seeking as many as eight sponsors for the global rights to the World Cup and Confederations Cup.

Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al- Maktoum was quoted in media reports as saying, "It is part of Emirates plan to become a global brand and household name and association with the most high-profile sporting event in the world is one part of Emirates' strategy to achieve that aim."

"We believe sport is an ideal vehicle to communicate with our passengers. This partnership will enable us to achieve global awareness of our brand," he added.

Maktoum also added that they were also looking at hosting a Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the rights period.

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

Also, as a part of the partnership deal, Emirates has a commitment from Fifa so as to have 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) to be shown on free-to-air television within the UAE.

On the other hand, Emirates passengers will also reap the benefits of this partnership as the airline 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.

Emirates' branding will be evident at all Fifa events, for 44 tournaments and 952 matches, during the term of this agreement, as well as on all Fifa merchandise and its website.

In addition to this, as Fifa's only Travel Partner, Emirates will also receive preferred airline status and a commitment from Fifa to develop business with Emirates and to develop Dubai as one of the world's premier travel hubs and destinations.

The airlines will also be launching a unique airport experience by installing interactive viewing stations at 16 international airports where fans can follow the tournaments.

Airports at New York, Zurich, London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Nagoya, Kansai, Shanghai, Narita, Brisbane and Hamburg are expected to launch their Emirates Experience booths in May, while airports at Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, Milan, Rome and Dubai will kick off their campaigns in June.

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