Reverse colonialism? Etihad becomes official carrier for England Cricket Board
Etihad Airways has signed a three-year deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which sees the carrier become England cricket’s first official airline.
The agreement means all England national squads across men’s, women’s, age-group and disability cricket will fly with the UAE. In return, the airline will benefit from a comprehensive range of commercial rights including access to England players for promotional appearances, advertising at international grounds in England and Wales, tickets and hospitality packages.
The agreement will encompass England’s domestic international and overseas touring programme from 2014-2016, extend to winter training camps in the UAE involving England squads and also include a joint community-based cricket initiative.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: “We are delighted to welcome such a prestigious global brand as Etihad into our ever-expanding family of commercial partners. This is a major business partnership for ECB which will bring significant benefits to all our England teams and we will be working closely with Etihad to deliver maximum exposure for their brand.”
Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “The welcome addition of the England cricket team to our growing portfolio of global sporting associations demonstrates our commitment to the UK market and also to major international sporting events.
“Cricket enables Etihad Airways to create strong synergies between the key cricket playing nations and our major flight networks across the Indian subcontinent, Australia and the UK. Cricket forms an important part of our international marketing strategy, providing us with an ideal platform to further build our brand in the UK, and create a deeper connection with our guests through supporting one of England’s favourite sports.”
It’s another string to Etihad’s broadening sports sponsorship bow, which includes the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) franchise cricket team the Mumbai Indians, Manchester City, Etihad-named stadia in Manchester and Melbourne, GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship, Major League Soccer in the US, and the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Etihad joins Emirates, which sponsors Old Trafford cricket ground and Durham County Cricket Club, in bolstering its English brand profile through cricket.
Etihad currently operates three flights a day from London Heathrow, as well as a twice daily service from Manchester to Abu Dhabi, where passengers can connect to its network of destinations in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.