Emirates has announced that it will become the main sponsor and official airline of the King Salman Club Cup 2023 in Saudi Arabia. The King Salman Cup is part of Saudi Arabia's ambition to become a global hub for sports through its Vision 2030 plan. Emirates supports Saudi Arabia's goals by connecting with passengers who are fans of the 16 teams from across the Arab world participating in the tournament.
Jabr Al-Azeeby, Vice President of Saudi Arabia for Emirates, said: "Emirates is one of the biggest names in sports and is heavily involved in the sport of football, helping fans get closer to the action, and engaging in ways that go far beyond logo recognition. We're committed to engaging with fans across new football frontiers by supporting the King Salman Cup 2023. We're also incredibly proud to play a role in supporting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's 2030 Vision to become a global powerhouse for professional sports."
Abdullah bin Saeed Aldalac, Vice President of the Saudi Sports Ministry, added: "The Vice President of the Arab Federation welcomes the partnership and confirms that it will be a successful addition to the championship."
The sponsorship deal provides Emirates with extensive brand visibility across stadiums and on-site advertising at the King Salman Cup. The tournament will run from July 27 to August 12 across stadiums in Abha, Al-Bahah, and Taif.
Emirates will also receive on-site promotional opportunities, hospitality rights, and digital rights to the tournament channels through the partnership. Furthermore, the airline will lead the trophy presentation during the final match of the tournament.
The King Salman Cup 2023, the Arab world's official club football championship, is organized by the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA). The 2023 tournament marks the 30th Arab Club Champions Cup season. Although the event launched 42 years ago in 1982, there have only been 29 tournaments so far since it does not occur every year.
The tournament featured 16 teams at the top of their respective leagues across the Arab world, facing off in 31 matches to determine a champion. The final match will take place at King Fahd Stadium in Taif, with $10 million awarded during the tournament. The teams participating this year include Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr from Saudi Arabia. The latter team has become famous internationally after adding Cristiano Ronaldo to its roster.
The last event, the 2019-20 Arab Club Champions Cup, took place from August 2019 to August 2021 in Morocco. The long time frame happened since the tournament was postponed for ten months in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emirates has established itself as a major player in international football through its partnerships with some of the most famous teams and tournaments. In Europe, the airline sponsors the Emirates FA Cup and leading teams such as Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Arsenal.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Emirates recently signed a sponsorship deal with Étoile Sportive du Sahel (ESS) in Tunisia. ESS is one of the country's most famous football and basketball teams. The airline also sponsors the ADNOC Pro League in the UAE and the Asian Football Confederation.
Emirates has offered flights to Saudi Arabia since 1989. The airline currently operates 67 weekly flights from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to the following airports in the country:
- King Fahd International Airport (DMM) in Dammam
- King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) in Jeddah
- Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport (MED) in Medina
- King Khalid International Airport (RUH) in Riyadh
Emirates serves high passenger demand for travel to Saudi Arabia by offering its latest products to enhance the customer experience. These amenities include the Airbus A380 aircraft. Emirates supports Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 by expanding the country's aviation industry and increasing connectivity to the four cities it currently serves.
Sports is one component of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plan to diversify its economy away from oil and gas. The country's recent sports initiatives include purchasing Newcastle United for over $400 million, launching the LIV Golf Tour that later merged with the US-based PGA Tour, and hosting wrestling and Formula 1 events.
Saudi Arabia also plans to launch a multibillion-dollar investment firm that will facilitate its global sports interests. The newly formed entity will be separate from the $650 billion Public Investment Fund that participated in the aforementioned sports investments.
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