15 Jul 2015 15:30
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has signed an agreement to become the official airline of Saudi Arabia’s oldest and most popular football club, Al Ittihad.
Founded in 1927, Al Ittihad is a
premier league team in the Abdul Latif Jameel League and has won an impressive
eight league titles, holds 47 official championship wins and three Asian
championships, including back-to-back Asian Champions League wins.
The Jeddah-based club, which plays
its home games at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, also holds the record for
the highest average home attendance in domestic league matches amongst all
Middle Eastern football clubs.
Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial
Officer for Etihad Airways, said: “We have an extremely successful track record
in sports sponsorship and our latest role as official airline of Al Ittihad
complements Etihad Airways’ existing partnerships with Manchester City,
Melbourne City and New York City football clubs. Saudi Arabia is one of our
most important markets and we are delighted to support a team based in our home
region, especially one that has achieved success through hard work, passion and
dedication, the same as Etihad Airways.”
As part of the sponsorship program,
Etihad Airways will receive unique promotional opportunities including
prominent branding at home matches and training, access to players for marketing
activities, presence at press conferences, and various exclusive events. The
airline will also be the preferred airline for the club and supporter travel,
when they fly abroad for Asian Champions League competition.
Ibrahim Al-Balawi, President of Al
Ittihad FC, said: “We are delighted to enter into this partnership with Etihad
Airways and it also gives us an opportunity to extend our reach outside of the
traditional market of Saudi Arabia and into other areas of the world such as
Asia, where we also have a strong following in our fan base thanks to our
success in the Asian Champions League. We have an ambition to grow our fan base
even further and the partnership with Etihad Airways will ensure we have the
best sponsor to fulfil
Etihad Airways’ sports sponsorship
portfolio includes the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team; Etihad Stadium in
Melbourne; Melbourne City Football Club; Etihad Stadium in Manchester;
Manchester City Football Club; New York City Football Club as well as the
Verizon Centre in Washington DC, which includes sponsorship of the Washington
Capitals (NHL), Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Mystics (WNBA).
The airline also sponsors the
England and Wales Cricket Board; Mumbai Indians; Major League Soccer; the
Sydney Opera House; Gaelic Athletic Association’s Hurling All Ireland Senior
Championship and the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Etihad Airways commenced operations to
Jeddah in May 2006, with an initial three frequencies per week. The services
increased to daily in April 2007 and again to twelve flights per week from
February 2011.The airline now flies thirteen times a week to Jeddah and the
route is a strong performer on its global network.