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Airlines - Global sponsorship analysis

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Airline sponsorship of international sporting events

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Table 5. Global sponsorship expenditure of international sporting events by airlines

Table shows Emirates is by far biggest spender

The most striking statistics when analysing airline sponsorship of international sporting events (i.e. continental or inter-continental events) is the lack of US representatives (as discussed earlier) and the relatively low investment among most carriers.

The relatively low investment can be explained by analysis of the events. The IOC doesn’t have an airline category among its TOP Partner programme, in part because the airline category now goes to domestic organising committees, so this is viewed as a domestic sponsorship.

Formula 1, as discussed, does have some Grands Prix rights held by airlines, and this might prevent FOM offering a global deal to an airline unless a major offer is made to become a global partner. Given the potential cost, this is unlikely. UEFA currently has no major deals with airlines, and again the cost of taking rights to either the Champions League or the European Championships is probably prohibitive for most airlines.

Rights have been taken by Emirates for FIFA and ICC (cricket) events and some international tennis rights are held by airlines such as South African Airways (ATP) and Jetstar (WTA Asia/Pacific rights). There is, therefore potential for airlines to partner the IRB in Rugby (the obvious candidate being British Airways ahead of the next Rugby World Cup in England) and the IAAF in athletics.

It should also be noted that the big spenders Emirates and Etihad have used domestic
sponsorships with international appeal, mainly in soccer, to drive their global marketing
programmes.

Table 6. Global airline sponsorship expenditure - international sporting events by sport by value

Soccer receives most sponsorship from airlines for international events

Chart 5. Global airline sponsorship expenditure - international sporting events by sport by %

Soccer receives most sponsorship from airlines for international events

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