ETIHAD AIRWAYS NAMED OFFICIAL AIRLINE PARTNER OF MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
• First multi-year sports partnership in the U.S. for Abu Dhabi-based carrier
· MLS agreement underlines Etihad Airways’ commitment to the U.S. market
· MLS and Etihad Airways to work on grassroots soccer projects together
ABU DHABI / NEW YORK (March 25, 2014) – Major League Soccer (MLS) and Soccer United Marketing, MLS’ commercial arm, today announced a multi-year partnership deal with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates.
Within the new agreement, Etihad Airways becomes the official airline partner of MLS in the United States. It is the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s first multi-year sports sponsorship in the territory and one that underscores its expanding commitment to the U.S. market.
Etihad Airways and MLS will also work together on a number of activations and initiatives including community programs, as well as hosting competitions and promotions for flights and holidays with MLS fans.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Etihad Airways has a growing portfolio of sports properties that cover the globe and we’re delighted to now add Major League Soccer, a leading international sports brand, to this group.”
The agreement will see the Etihad Airways logo and its messages beamed across LED pitch-side advertising during nationally televised MLS matches, as well as across national broadcast partners and MLS Digital Properties, the leading online soccer platform in North America.
Major League Soccer represents the sport’s highest level in the United States and Canada, composed of 19 teams, with 16 in the U.S. and three in Canada. The MLS regular season runs from March to October, with the MLS Cup Playoffs taking place in November and December.
MLS’ global presence continues to increase with the announcements of expansion clubs, New York City FC and Orlando City Soccer Club.
Mr. Hogan added: “The MLS partnership will enable Etihad Airways to continue to build its brand in the United States, a key market for us, and offers an ideal platform to interact with the millions of sports fans and communities across the country and showcase the airline and services.”
Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer, said: “We are excited to welcome Etihad Airways as the official airline partner of Major League Soccer in the United States and are proud to be the first major sports association in the U.S. for such a prestigious global company. On behalf of our clubs, our players and our millions of fans, we welcome Etihad Airways to the MLS family and look forward to working with them to help grow their business in this region.”
Etihad Airways currently operates daily flights between its hub at Abu Dhabi Airport and Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. In June 2014 it will launch daily flights to Los Angeles and in December it will start a three flights-a-week service to Dallas-Fort Worth.
The airline has a premium lounge at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. and has plans to open one at New York’s JFK Airport and Los Angeles’ LAX.
In addition to MLS, Etihad Airways’ sponsorship portfolio includes the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C., the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Manchester City Football Club, All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, Harlequins Rugby Club, and the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
About Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2013 carried 11.5 million passengers. From its Abu Dhabi base Etihad Airways flies to 103 existing or announced passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of 95 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and more than 220 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777-X, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s. Etihad Airways holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia and Jet Airways, and is seeking regulatory approval to invest in Swiss-based regional carrier Darwin Airline. For more information, please visit: www.etihad.com
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Major League Soccer’s 19th season features 19 clubs each playing 34 regular-season matches. Those clubs include the Chicago Fire; Chivas USA; Colorado Rapids; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; Montreal Impact; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; Philadelphia Union; Portland Timbers; Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; 2013 MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City; Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Expansion teams New York City FC and Orlando City Soccer Club will begin play in 2015. For more information about MLS, log on to the league’s official website at www.MLSsoccer.com.