Taking off: football sponsorship has proven beneficial for
airlines. Image: Getty
Want to raise your profile? How about purchasing the sponsorship of a football jersey? It may only set you back a couple of hundred million dollars as well.
Last week, Emirates was unveiled as the jersey sponsor for Paris Saint-Germain (who recently signed superstar David Beckham), paying $171 million for branding rights through to 2019. The announcement follows on from the Dubai-based airline’s decision late last year to re-sign with London’s Arsenal football club to the tune of $235 million, for similar rights.
But despite the seemingly massive outlay, its deals with soccer clubs have proven to be exceptionally beneficial to Emirates; according to Forbes, over the last five seasons, Arsenal has sold an average 800,000 jerseys per season, while AC Milan, who is also sponsored by the airline, has sold around 350,000 jerseys a year. On the back of this success, Emirates has added 15 new destinations since September 2011.
Not to be outdone, two years ago, Etihad Airways signed a ten-year agreement to be the principle sponsor of Manchester City FC, paying the club $626 million to sponsor the team’s uniform as well as purchase naming rights to its stadium (by comparison, this dwarves the $300 million dollar deal that JP Morgan Chase has with Madison Square Garden in New York).
And the Abu Dhabi-based carrier has had similar success to Emirates, achieving a 17 percent increase in revenue in 2012 (to US$4.8 billion) and posting net profits of $42 million, reported Forbes. The airline also surpassed 10 million passengers for the first time last year.
With the World Cup due to be played in Qatar in 2022, it comes as no surprise to learn that Qatar Airways will become FC Barcelona's shirt sponsors later this year.
The pairing of the World Airline Awards’ ‘Airline of the Year’ with the football team most consider the best on the planet should see Qatar reap similar rewards to its Middle Eastern rivals.