By Andy Sambidge
Five-year agreement will allow Spanish giant to continue to compete at highest level, says club chief
Emirates Airline and Real Madrid on Thursday announced a new agreement granting the airline a five year shirt sponsorship of the club until the end of the 2017/2018 season.
Although the Dubai airline gave no value to the deal, reportedly as much as $160m, the Spanish club did say it would "allow us to continue competing at the highest level worldwide".
The announcement was made by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline & Group and Florentino Perez, club president of Real Madrid at the iconic Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
The newly branded kit was introduced shortly after the announcement, and the white jersey will be worn by players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas and Karim Benzema.
The ‘Fly Emirates’ logo will appear on the front of Real Madrid’s playing and training kits.
The new agreement also contains a number of additional hospitality rights, including a branded VIP Lounge at the stadium, additional player access and further advertising rights. Emirates will also continue to enjoy highly visible branding at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
“ Aligning ourselves with an international powerhouse like Real Madrid helps to amplify our brand message by creating more meaningful connections with sports fans around the world. In this case, we are engaging with one of the largest fan-bases in the world,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
“The club has been a key catalyst in the growth of our brand and business in Spain and we are confident that the new shirt sponsorship will continue our momentum of integrating our brand with the iconic Real Madrid brand, generating authentic fan experiences around the world,” he added.
Perez said: “Today, we are entering a new era as Emirates will become the Real Madrid shirt sponsor for the next five seasons, putting its signature brand name on our jerseys.
"We are confident about what the future holds for our two global brands who see no obstacles and we are both passionate about leading the way in everything that we do,” he added.
Real Madrid is considered to be the most successful club in football, winning a record 32 La Liga titles, 18 Spanish "Copa del Rey" Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, a record nine UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Cups, one UEFA Supercup and three Intercontinental Cups.
Real Madrid has been part of Emirates’ impressive sponsorship portfolio since 2011.
Emirates’ football sponsorship portfolio includes a number of high profile teams and events including FIFA, Arsenal FC, AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain (PSG), Hamburger SV, Olympiacos FC, Arsenal Soccer Schools Dubai, The Emirates Cup and Zain Saudi Professional League.
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.
The airline also recently sponsored the Barcelona Open tennis tournament, the oldest tennis tournament in Spain and one of the most prestigious clay court tournaments on the ATP circuit, in a deal that will run until 2018.
Emirates currently offers 21 weekly flights to Spain; a double daily flight to Madrid and a daily flight to Barcelona.For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.