UAE national carrier Etihad Airways has announced its first US sponsorship deal.
It is now the official airline sponsor of Nation’s Triathlon in the capital, Washington DC.
The airline has not revealed how much the sponsorship is worth or how long the contract is for.
The sponsorship follows the airline’s launch of daily direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Washington in March.
Under the deal, Etihad will provide Nation Triathlon athletes free flights and other promotional activities, as well as forging a partnership between the event in Washington and the Tri Yas Triathlon in Abu Dhabi.
The Washington triathlon will take place on Sunday, September 8, with 5000 participants, making it one of the largest international distance triathlons in the US.
It is renowned for a scenic course that winds through the National Mall and Memorial Parks including a 1.5km swim in the Potomac River, 40km bike circuit through the streets of Washington and Maryland and a 10km run through Washington DC’s historical landmarks.
“We are delighted to support the world renowned Nation’s Triathlon in Washington DC and its sister race, Tri Yas, which takes place in our home of Abu Dhabi,” Etihad chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner said.
“Etihad Airways launched its daily service to Washington DC in March this year and the partnership gives us an ideal opportunity to support two fantastic sporting events in two of the world’s leading capital cities.”
Molly Quinn, vice president of Triathlon Events at Competitor Group Inc, which runs the Nation’s Triathlon, said the Washington race had become a global event.
“This airline partnership also creates a sister city relationship between two premier triathlons, the Events DC Nation’s Triathlon and Tri Yas, elevating each race’s opportunity for international exposure,” she said.
“Both events take place in capital cities and Etihad Airways will be the common link between these two triathlons in cities between which Etihad Airways recently started direct flight services.”
Etihad already has numerous sports sponsorships around the world, including with the Chelsea Football Club, the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 and Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association.