Emirates has struck a three-year shirt sponsorship deal with the Lisbon football club Benfica.
The deal comes as Benfica lifted its 34th Primeira Liga trophy this week and as the airline said it would add a second daily flight to Lisbon next year.
Under the sponsorship deal, Emirates will have its “Fly Emirates” logo on Benfica’s jersey until the end of the 2017-18 season.
Emirates started flying to Lisbon in July 2012 and has since carried 500,000 passengers on the route, it said. The second daily flight will lift capacity on the route to 10,000 seats each week.
“This announcement is not just about sport, it is also an Emirates investment in Portugal,” said Tim Clark, the airline’s president. “Since we started flying from Dubai to Lisbon in 2012, we have experienced a sturdy demand for our daily flight and now we look to 2016 and doubling the ways to increase the mutually beneficial trade and tourism our flights bring to the country.”
Last month the airline confirmed that it was in talks with the English Football Association to sponsor the FA Cup.
The region’s big three carriers sponsor some of Europe’s best- known football teams, with Etihad displayed on the shirts of Manchester City and Qatar Airways sponsoring Barcelona.
Twenty of Europe’s top clubs are now sponsored in some way by Arabian Gulf airlines.
Emirates already sponsors Arsenal in the English Premier League as well as AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A, Real Madrid in Spain’s La Liga and Paris Saint-Germain in France’s Ligue 1.
Research from the consultancy Repucom showed that the UAE was the single biggest investor in shirt sponsorship in Europe between 2005 and now.
Emirates told The National in March that each of its sponsorships is considered on the basis of four main criteria.
“It must be a sport or an event which reflects the quality of Emirates; the event must be relevant to an Emirates destination; the event must have guaranteed television coverage and there must be a measurable return on the investment,” a spokesman said.
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