Emirates, a connector of people and their football passions, and the Arabian Gulf League have today announced a three-year, AED 25 million agreement which will see Emirates as the Official Partner and Airline of the league. The deal underscores the airline’s on-going commitment in supporting football as well as connecting with the fan base of the 14 clubs which make up the UAE’s only professional league.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman  & Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group remarked on the new partnership: “Sponsorship has always been a vital component of our marketing strategy. Through our sponsorship and support of an incredible line-up of global football clubs and popular football events we have been able to bring major clubs to the UAE to compete in unique tournaments, connecting them to their fans. With our new partnership with the Arabian Gulf League, we will be in an even stronger position to add value to the UAE’s professional league by capitalising on opportunities that will link local clubs with international football teams through focused collaboration.”

The announcement was revealed today at a press conference led by Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Centre and Suhail Al Areefi, CEO of the UAE Pro League Committee.

Sheikh Majid said: “We see our partnership with the Arabian Gulf League as an opportunity to connect with football fans in our home, the UAE. This new association will allow us to play an even bigger role here locally by bringing fans of football closer to what they love and to build unique opportunities and experiences with a rich mix of local clubs. We also want to align our brand with the league to strengthen its position as one of the fastest growing leagues in Asia, and to support its vision to provide UAE football a platform to thrive at the international level. This will further support the UAE’s status as a world-class sports hub and a centre for professional sporting events.”

Suhail Al Areefi, CEO of the UAE Pro League Committee, said: “The Pro League Committee is proud of its partnership with Emirates Airline, the Official Partner and Airline of the Arabian Gulf League, Arabian Gulf Cup, Arabian Gulf Super Cup and U21 League. Emirates is one of the world’s leading airlines, and is an Emirati company with an international pedigree of supporting high profile global sporting associations, teams and events – particularly related to football. We hope that through associating with Emirates as our Official Partner, this will assist the development of the Arabian Gulf League both locally and globally.”

The sponsorship deal, which spans three years, gives Emirates brand visibility and on-site advertising at the Arabian Gulf Super Cup, which starts on 15 August. Emirates will also capitalize on advertising opportunities at all 182 Arabian Gulf League matches, 45 Arabian Gulf Cup matches as well as 26 televised U21 League matches. The airline will also receive in-game promotional opportunities and interactive hospitality rights. Additionally, Emirates will benefit from digital and social media activation rights on the Arabian Gulf League’s media platforms, and will also lead the trophy presentation during final matches.

The Arabian Gulf League is part of The Pro League Committee, which was established in 2007. The organization’s objective was to establish a professional league aligned with Asian Football Confederation (AFC) regulations. The Arabian Gulf League is the UAE’s only professional league, with the Arabian Gulf Super Cup, the Arabian Gulf Cup and Under 21 (U21) League competitions running in conjunction every season. The U21 league encourages the development of home-grown young Emirati talent.

Emirates’ sponsorship portfolio made of top sporting clubs, tournaments and high profile cultural events worldwide continues to grow. In the UAE alone, Emirates supports and is involved in over 40 sports sponsorships and events each year.

Football remains one of the most celebrated sports within Emirates’ sponsorship portfolio. This is demonstrated through on-going partnerships with some of the biggest names in club football, and some of the most significant tournaments including shirt sponsors of leading European and international clubs like AC Milan, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Hamburger SV, Benfica SL, New York Cosmos and Arsenal in a deal which includes naming rights to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Emirates is also the Official Airline of Greek club, Olympiacos. Locally, Emirates supports Arsenal Soccer Schools Dubai, a joint venture between Emirates and Arsenal Football Club, teaching boys and girls how to ‘play the Arsenal way’ through mentoring from UEFA licensed coaches.

The airline was also recently named as Title Sponsor of The Emirates FA Cup.

Emirates is also the Official Airline and Partner of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the governing body of Asian football, and has sponsorship rights to all its tournaments, including the AFC Champions League, AFC Cup and the AFC Challenge Cup, as well as a number of women’s and youth events.

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