Emirates Airline and Arsenal Football Club has signed the biggest club sponsorship in football history, collectively worth some £100 million (AED 662.2 million). Emirates Vice Chairman and Group President Maurice Flanagan inked the agreement in London today (Tuesday) with Arsenal Football Club Chairman Peter Wood-Hill, and Managing Director Keith Edelman.
The agreement provides the Dubai-based international airline with naming rights to the club’s new £357 million stadium, presently in construction. The new stadium, seating 60,000 spectators, will boast cutting-edge facilities. For the next 15 years and with immediate effect it will be known as the Emirates Stadium.
Emirates will also take over as the club’s title sponsor - including ‘Fly Emirates’ shirt sponsorship - for eight years, starting from the 2006-2007 season, the first playing season in the new Emirates Stadium.
In addition, Arsenal will set up a soccer school in the UAE, as part of the partnership agreement.
The combined value of the Emirates sponsorship makes it by far the biggest deal ever undertaken in British football. It also will create a meaningful and long-lasting relationship between the airline and Arsenal Football Club.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates, believes sport sponsorship is a vital part of the airline’s growth strategy and that Arsenal is a perfect partner for Emirates.
Commenting on the forthcoming soccer school, Sheikh Ahmed said: “This is a terrific initiative which will greatly benefit the sport in the UAE and in the region. The school will not only help develop soccer talents in our country through top-class training methods, but will also provide exposure to international players, trainers and opportunities - all of which will go a long way to boosting soccer standards here.
Sheikh Ahmed added: “For Emirates, sponsorship is an important means of reaching out to our passengers worldwide, through sharing and supporting their interests. Our massive investment in this partnership underscores our confidence in the continued international growth of Emirates, and in the growth of Dubai as a regional hub for business, tourism and sports.
“This is also an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sponsor such a major new stadium and club, and represents a win-win partnership for both Emirates and Arsenal. We look forward to a long and happy relationship with Arsenal.”
Maurice Flanagan, Emirates Vice Chairman and Group President, said: “Arsenal’s approach and winning team parallel the ambitions and achievements of Emirates Airline. We strive for quality of service and success in everything we do and these values are the essence of our exciting new partnership with Arsenal.”
Keith Edelman, Managing Director of Arsenal Football Club said: “The sheer size and scale of this deal is an amazing opportunity for Arsenal. We are delighted to have Emirates as our partner and sponsor.
“Emirates is a quality airline and an established global brand, with a proven track record in football and sport sponsorship. This long-term association is an excellent opportunity for both of us. It will help Arsenal reach new markets and build on our existing fan base across the world, thanks in no small part to the airline’s global route network. We are grateful to Emirates for its faith in us and look forward to working with them.”
Arsenal is one of the most famous and widely supported football clubs in the world. The Club enjoys support from its enormous fan base around the globe with interest in the team spreading from its traditional European base to encompass huge support in Asia, as well as in Australasia and the American continent. Emirates will work closely with Arsenal to extend this ever-growing fan base, to develop exciting opportunities for the team and the airline around the world.