Etihad Airways has signed a five-year deal for naming rights to Melbourne’s iconic Docklands Stadium ahead of its launch of a daily service from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne on 30 March 2009.
The Telstra Dome will be renamed the Etihad Stadium from 1 March 2009 to coincide with the start of the Australian Football League (AFL) season.The move comes as part of a wider global strategy of sponsoring sport in new markets as a vehicle for promoting the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates. This also marks Etihad’s first major sporting sponsorship in Australia and will see branding prominently inside and outside the stadium, including on perimeter signage and giant score boards.
The 55,000 capacity stadium, opened in 2000, is a multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadium in the Docklands area of Melbourne.
(Above: James Hogan, CEO Etihad Airways (centre right) and Ian Collins, CEO Melbourne Stadiums Limited (centre left) celebrate Etihad’s sponsorship)
Etihad’s chief executive, James Hogan, said the strategy would help get Etihad’s name into the community.
He said: “Sport sponsorships form a major part of Etihad’s international marketing strategy. Building on the success of our existing sporting associations with the Ferrari F1 team, Chelsea Football Club, Harlequins Rugby Football Club, the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, this latest deal will further strengthen our growing ties with Australia, particularly Melbourne where we will begin flying in March 2009.
“Australia is a hugely important and rapidly growing market for our airline, and this deal provides an excellent opportunity to continue building our global brand and forge close and long-lasting relationships with the Australian travelling public, many of whom we know are huge sports fans. As a Melbournian, I am particularly proud that our airline is now so closely associated with my home city.”
Etihad currently flies 11 times per week to Sydney and three times per week to Brisbane, via Singapore. This month it is also launching a second service to Sydney.