By John Irish
The Dubai-based airline cements its position on the pitch after signing a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with FIFA for the 2006 World Cup.
In a landmark deal announced today (Jan 28), Emirates has become the first airline to become an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, after signing an agreement for the 2006 edition to be held in Germany. The deal is estimated to be valued at US $30 million and will also see Emirates involved in sponsoring the Women’s World Cup in China later this year as well as the next two Confederation’s Cup tournaments to be held in France (2003) and Germany (2005).“Emirates is already an event partner at the FIFA World Youth Championship and is now becoming an official partner at FIFA's biggest event, the FIFA World Cup,” said Jack Warner, FIFA vice-president. “It is a great pleasure to welcome a company as prominent as Emirates on board at this early stage. We are committed to a successful long-term relationship with our new official partner,” said Franz Beckanbauer, president of the local organising committee and former German World Cup captain.Emirates has already invested heavily in sport and is currently the official sponsor of English Premier League football club, Chelsea.“Our investment in sport is linked with our ongoing drive to develop into a global brand. Becoming an official partner will be good for Emirates, good for Dubai and good for the UAE”, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates.So far, twelve other companies have confirmed their involvement as official partners to the World Cup, including Adidas, Avaya, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Continental, Deutsche Telekom, Gillette, Hyundai, McDonald's, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo!