Emirates today announced that the airline will support Team New Zealand in its challenge for the next edition of the America’s Cup, the world’s premier yacht racing event. This new major sponsorship propels Emirates to the front row of the sailing world, in the same way that its sponsorship of Chelsea Football Club and its status as Official FIFA Partner of the 2006 World Cup Germany have made the airline a major player in football.
Emirates Team New Zealand, as the syndicate will be known, will mount a campaign to regain the Cup from its current holder, the Geneva-based Swiss team Alinghi, in the 33rd edition of the regatta that will culminate in the waters off the Mediterranean city of Valencia, Spain in 2007.
In signing the lead sponsorship naming rights agreement here, on behalf of Emirates, the airline President Tim Clark said: “We are proud to take Emirates into a leading role in the rich 153-year history of the oldest sports trophy on earth, and to support the New Zealand syndicate in its great challenge.
“Emirates Team New Zealand is a tremendous promotional opportunity on a global stage, and underscores our commitment to New Zealand. Our airline is expanding rapidly into new markets and the America’s Cup regatta provides us with a world stage to keep raising awareness of our brand.
He added: “The Cup has become one of the world’s most technologically-intensive sports events, and I can’t think of a partner that could offer us a better fit than Team New Zealand, with its focus, drive and credentials.”
Mr Clark said Team New Zealand, holder of the America’s Cup for the eight years prior to 2003, embodied many of the values held by Emirates. “It is fiercely competitive, it seeks quality in all aspects of its operation and is as much cutting edge in its field as Emirates itself among airlines.”
He added that Emirates’ presence and awareness in New Zealand had rapidly grown since Auckland services started last August and is slated for further expansion with the addition of services to Christchurch from 1 July. By the end of August, Emirates will operate 27 flights a week from New Zealand to Australia, onward to Dubai and beyond.
Emirates has a strong track record in sports sponsorship, including many world-class events in soccer, golf, rugby and horse-racing. Its very first sponsorship in 1987 was of a powerboat race in Dubai. Global sports sponsorships like Emirates Team New Zealand offer immense exposure for the airline with international audiences, and are also excellent conduits for a closer relationship with its customers.
Mr Clark concluded: “This sponsorship, in addition to our support of the New Zealand Golf Open, undoubtedly will raise the Emirates profile in this country and further cement our relationship with our New Zealand customers and sailing fans all over the world.”
New Zealand Government Confirms Investment in New Team
New Zealand’s Minister for the America’s Cup Trevor Mallard congratulated the Team for its determination to win back the Cup and announced that with the commercial sponsorships secured, the Government’s previously announced trade and tourism investment was now confirmed.
He said: “Research has shown that our investment of NZD $33.75 million (USD $21.3 million) will be more than recouped as we leverage tourism and trade spinoffs from the European regattas.
Mr Mallard added: “Increased economic activity from the Auckland-based build-up is estimated at a minimum of NZD $85.5 million (USD $54 million), tax revenue at NZD $25.5 million (USD $16 million) million. Significant global media exposure for New Zealand tourism and trade is also expected.”
He concluded: “Clearly there will also be potential spin-offs for New Zealand in the Middle Eastern market. We now wish Emirates Team New Zealand well in the three years ahead and look forward to a competitive challenge that does New Zealand proud.”
Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton welcomed the airline to the Team. “Over the past few months we have come to know the Emirates people well. They share with us a vision for success, a passion for excellence and a no-nonsense, practical approach to the business of winning. The Team could not wish for a better lead and naming rights sponsor.
He added: “Emirates Team New Zealand is off to a great start thanks to the magnificent support of our commercial partners, private individuals, our directors and the yachtsmen, designers, craftsmen and support people who have signed with us. Everyone concerned has taken a great leap of faith; we thank them all for that.”
Mr Dalton concluded: “With the support we have secured to date, Emirates Team New Zealand can now announce that it will lodge a challenge for the 2007 America’s Cup. We still need to complete the sponsorship line-up that the Team requires but we are now robust enough to launch a very competitive challenge.”