Emirates Airline has signed on as the title sponsor of the US Open tennis tournament, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.
The seven-year deal is worth US$90 million (Dh330m) and includes the series of nine men's and women's tournaments leading up to the US Open, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for Emirates said the deal is part of the airline's involvement in sports marketing worldwide. The company has the naming rights to Arsenal's football stadium, a sponsorship deal with AC Milan and deals with 15 golf tournaments.
"We are in sports because they are watched globally and we can guarantee a global reach," Boutros Boutros, the airline's senior vice president for communications, told the Journal.
Lew Sherr, the chief revenue officer of the US Tennis Association (USTA), said the deal will increase global recognition for the Open and the tournaments that lead up to it.
"This is an alignment of two brands with similar interests," he told the Journal. "They are a prestigious airline, and we think of the US Open as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world."
The series, which begins with Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California on July 9-15, will be known as the Emirates Airline US Open Series.
The US Open, the fourth major on the annual world tennis calendar, will be held August 27 to September 29 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Sherr told the newspaper that the USTA "did our due diligence" and was not concerned that some American fans might have a negative reaction to the country's premier tennis event being sponsored by a Middle East company.
"We have partnerships with brands from around the world," he said. "It validates the stature and international nature of the series."
Boutros, the Emirates spokesman, said the airline has not seen any negative impact from its sponsorships of other organisations, such as the San Francisco Symphony. "People who love sports understand your contribution and they love it," he told the Journal.
Emirates also will become the official airline of the US Open and has committed $2.5m in promotion and hospitality for the series. Emirates will replace Japan's Olympus Corp as the series' title sponsor.