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15 July 2024

Striking deals

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed shakes hands with David Beckham as Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce's Hamad bin Mejren looks on. (GETTY IMAGES)

By Gary Meenaghan

When it was announced that this year's World Series Football Challenge would feature AC Milan, fans were not the only ones who envisaged a chance to get some autographs from the Rossoneri.

Businessmen saw the trip as a perfect opportunity to sign on the dotted line, raise the profile of their company and attain some additional column inches.

Three separate sponsorship deals were sealed and revealed in the space of seven days, with Emirates airline being the busiest of the businesses.

Here we take a look at some of the contracts that were publicised in the past two weeks and how each party will benefit:

Emirates upgrade Milan sponsorship to become top-tier sponsor.

On December 30, the day after Milan arrived in Dubai, Emirates announced its increased level of sponsorship. "We are now a Top Institutional Sponsor of AC Milan," said Maurice Flanagan, executive vice-chairman of Emirates, before being presented with a red-and-black striped football shirt with "Flanagan" on the back.
"We pay more, but we get more," said Flanagan when quizzed on the cost of the upgraded contract. "But these football sponsorships are extremely successful.

"The whole point of sponsorships is to raise positive awareness and by aligning ourselves with the biggest teams in world football we can do that."

Adidas reiterate 10-year Milan tie-up and showcase Beckham to the world.

The Rossoneri's newest recruit had been in the country over a week and had barely spoken to the media.

Adidas changed all that, organising a chance for competition winners to meet their idols, including David Beckham and Kaka. Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani detailed the 10-year extension to the adidas deal.

"With adidas we used to have a traditional supplying contract, but now they own the official licensing rights to the AC Milan brand all over the world," said Galliani, before signing autographs.

Airline extends sponsorship with Hamburg SV for further three years.

Two days before the match, as Martin Jol's men were still adjusting their body clocks having arrived the previous night, Emirates revealed they had strengthened their commitment to the Bundesliga contenders. The airline will remain the shirt sponsors of the club until at least 2012.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and CEO of Emirates, said he found similarities between his company and the German giants: "Both have a very international approach, a passion for quality and a track record for consistently striving to be the best."

Those who secured sponsorship deals were not the only beneficiaries.

The newly-opened Harbour Hotel got exposure having hosted the Milan formal dinner, Technogym secured their corporate clients a chance to meet the stars and the emirate's newest sports venue "The Sevens" showed off its hosting facilities by being broadcast to 110 different countries.

$11.5m Tie-Up

When the final whistle went at The Sevens venue on Tuesday night, the World Series showcase drew to a close. But the very next afternoon Emirates announced yet another football sponsorship deal.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman and CEO of the airline, revealed an $11.5m (Dh42m) four-year extension to its backing of the Asian Football Confederation.

AFC president Mohammed bin Hammam, who was in Dubai at this week's draw for the Asian Champions League, said: "It is through the support of our partners, such as Emirates, that helps us to continue with the growth and development of Asian football and we are extremely grateful to them."