By Andy Sambidge
Telstra Dome in Melbourne to be renamed after Abu Dhabi-based airline.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has signed a new sponsorship deal which will see the famous Telstra Dome in Melbourne, Australia re-named from early next year as the Etihad Stadium.
The 55,000 capacity stadium, opened in 2000, is a multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadium in the Docklands precinct of Melbourne, which caters for both sporting and entertainment events.
The five-year deal is Etihad’s first major sporting sponsorship in Australia and will see the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s branding feature prominently inside and outside the stadium.
The sponsorship agreement comes into effect on March 1, 2009 – just weeks before the airline launches a non-stop, daily service to the Victorian capital.
CEO James Hogan said: “Sport sponsorships form a major part of Etihad’s international marketing strategy. Building on the success of our existing sporting associations, this latest deal will further strengthen our growing ties with Australia, particularly Melbourne where we will begin flying in March 2009.
“Australia is a hugely important and rapidly growing market for our airline, and this deal provides an excellent opportunity to continue building our global brand and forge close and long-lasting relationships with the Australian travelling public.”
The Etihad Stadium is one of a growing number of high-profile sports sponsorships for the airline, and complements existing partnerships with the Ferrari F1 team, Chelsea Football Club, Harlequins Rugby Football Club, the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
Etihad is also the title sponsor of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 2009.
Etihad will commence non-stop daily services from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi from March 30, 2009.
The airline currently flies 11 times per week to Sydney and three times per week to Brisbane, via Singapore.