Abu Dhabi is expecting an economic boost after Manchester City’s dramatic victory in the English Premier League on Sunday night. The club, owned by Abu Dhabi ruling family member Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and sponsored by Etihad Airways could do great things for the UAE capital.
Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, which is Manchester City’s “destination partner”, said it was delighted with the huge publicity from the win.
“The destination exposure of our sponsorship is considerable,” it said in a statement, saying it will work to make sure that football fans “from clubs, leagues and countries all over the world” become aware of Abu Dhabi and encourage them to visit the emirate.
The team’s chief sponsor, Etihad Airways, couldn’t have scored better - not only having its name in large black letters on the winning shirts, but also seeing victory secured in City’s Etihad Stadium.
James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways said the airline was “immensely proud” and he looks forward to celebrating with the management, staff and players at the club. Hogan added that securing the win at the Etihad Stadium was “very special” for the fans, Etihad and everyone in Abu Dhabi.
The Etihad Airways logo has been on the Manchester City shirt since 2009 and it put its name on the stadium in 2011. The airline boosted its association even further by having staff wear Manchester City’s sky blue colours on match day. Over at the official Manchester City merchandise shop in the capital, The City Store, economic benefit from the win was immediate.
“We opened up the store after the game, lots of fans came in, we were doing very well,” said Iranian-born shop assistant, Aref, yesterday.
The staff had headed to the Blues’ fan club at Zayed Sports City on Sunday night where they watched the match on a giant screen.
“We are selling very well. Scarves and hats are the two best sellers,” Aref said. When 7DAYS was in the shop in Abu Dhabi Mall yesterday morning, every one of the 15 customers was Emirati, signalling that City have won over strong UAE support.
“I bought a jersey for my husband,” said Fatima, an Emirati woman who watched the game at home with her family.
“My sons are also big fans. Everyone started following them when Abu Dhabi bought the team. My husband is no longer with Manchester United,” she said, describing the victory as “wonderful”.
Khalid Al Mansuri, an accounting student who was looking for a Man City top at the shop yesterday, said:
“Abu Dhabi is doing many projects to become an international city but, really, it is Man City that is putting it on the map.
“The city spends a lot to build our profile, but soccer is the language of the people. It will make the world sit up and watch.”
BE A CITY SLICKER
Revel in the win and grab some Premier League-winning products from The City Store in Abu Dhabi...
SUPPORT THE BLUES - AND YOUR BABY
Stop your tot from bouncing on your lap with this sky blue car seat. It comes in different sizes and shapes, but expect to pay over Dhs1,000 for a seat. Other Man City baby accessories include baby bottles, cups and bibs.
BUY AND SELL
What better way to celebrate the corporatisation of football than with a game of Monopoly. Compete for star players and snap up season tickets instead of utility companies. The game costs Dhs180.
LOOK SPARKLING IN THE STANDS
In black with an imitation diamond club crest this bling top will make you stand out among a sea of blue footy shirts. At Dhs120 you can celebrate the win in style.
SPLASH OUT ON A MAJOR SIGNING
Fancy breaking the bank? Manager Roberto Mancini and team captain Vincent Kompany signed this jersey last year, now it’s worth Dhs4,600. Signed shirts by the entire team are on sale for Dhs6,000.
KEYS TO THE PREMIERSHIP
Not very macho but this keyring is cheap as chips at just Dhs10.
Your footy boots and revel in victory in these Manchester City slippers. Cost depending on size - approx Dhs50. Ideal for younger fans.
SWEET TASTE OF VICTORY
For just Dhs36 a time you can brew up cups of coffee for your mates who support Manchester United... if you have any left.