Governments and Businesses in Middle East Invest Big in Sponsorships

Companies and countries throughout the Gulf region are pumping millions of dollars into different sports partnerships in order to attract new business and build more recognition.

Emirates Airlines, one of the biggest spenders, recently signed a $180 million deal with the operators of Formula One. That is just one in a long series of sports sponsorships that companies in the region have signed to increase brand recognition.

The Dubai-based air carrier, as a global partner for Formula One, will have its brand present at 15 races during the Formula One 2013 calendar.

The new deal just adds to the efforts of Emirates to spread its reach in a global manner while adding to its ever-growing partnerships in sports.

In 2005, the airline signed what at the time was a record $162 million deal with Arsenal of the English Premier League. That deal includes shirt deals on the pitch as well as advertisements. The home stadium for Arsenal was also given the name of Emirates Stadium in North London.

About 50% of the $1.03 billion marketing and sales budget the airline has is spent on sponsorship and it boasts about is partnerships with the ATP, FIFA, and major football clubs in Europe such as Real Madrid, Paris St. Germaine and AC Milan.

Other investors across the region followed the lead by Emirates. In 2010, the Qatar Foundation for Education and Community Development, which is non-profit and state owned signed a deal worth $40 million per year with Barcelona, one of the world’s top football teams. Qatar Airways, the national carrier of Qatar, is the official airline for the Tour de France.

Etihad Airway signed a deal worth $640 million for 10 years with Manchester City of the English Premier League to cover their shirts, naming rights to the stadium and the area around the stadium.

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