Emirates signs $81-m deal with AC Milan

Boutros Boutros (left centre) hands over a model of an Emirates’ A380 as a gift to Galliani

Emirates has scored a belter by announcing a new sponsorship deal with Italian football giant, AC Milan.

The international airline of the UAE revealed the €60 million-plus ($81 million) partnership in the presence of superstars Ronaldinho and David Beckham, on loan from LA Galaxy.

“We like to give sports fans something to shout about and this exciting shirt sponsorship deal certainly does that,” said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

Emirates first signed a sponsorship agreement with AC Milan in September 2007. The following year, the relationship was elevated to Top Institutional Sponsor. The prestigious shirt sponsor deal, spread over five years, will become visible from the start of the 2010/2011 season.

AC Milan’s executive vice president and managing director, Adriano Galliani said: “When Emirates became one of our sponsors, the relationship that linked the two companies grew and evolved, thanks to a common vision and common objectives. Today, we have reached the most important target - Emirates has become our shirt sponsor and has positioned its brand on the most successful club in the world.”

The AC Milan squad, has made a number of training visits to Emirates’ home of Dubai, escaping the chill of the European winter to enjoy the airline’s superb on-the-ground and in-flight service, along with the warmth of the UAE.

Other teams sponsored by the carrier include Paris Saint Germain Football Club in France, Hamburger SV in Germany and of course Arsenal in the UK.