Why Are Middle Eastern Giants Sponsoring Sport Events and Clubs?

Published July 7th, 2020 - 02:00 GMT
Why Are Middle Eastern Giants Sponsoring Sport Events and Clubs?
Sponsoring international athletic clubs and events actually plays quite a crucial part in supporting the dynamic world of sports. (AFP)

During the last few years, many Middle Eastern behemoths have been investing in major international events and clubs that their names have been strongly associated with them in sports arenas.

While the most visible form of sponsorships can be seen in brands' names on sports jerseys and stadium advertisements, money put into supporting sports events and clubs have a deeper more complex role.

Sponsoring international athletic clubs and events actually plays quite a crucial part in supporting the dynamic world of sports and providing financial stability to clubs that were often prone to suffering from acute budgeting issues. 

Besides supporting the most popular global names in sports, Middle Eastern businesses can advance their brands' presence and boost customers' confidence in them by sharing their interests in sports and ramming millions of cash into their favorite clubs. 

Starting in the late 2010s, Middle Eastern businesses turned to international football for sponsorships. In July 2011, the City of Manchester Stadium was renamed as Etihad Stadium after the Emirati airline carrier sponsored it for  €474 million. 

In 2014, UAE-based brands had put $163 million on shirt sponsorships deals. By 2015, CNN reported that Middle Eastern businesses had invested more than $1.5 billion in European football stakes.

1- Emirates Airlines

The state-owned flag carrier airline has for years sponsored numerous sports events both locally and internationally. Showing support for athletes playing the world's most popular game, the Emirates has sponsored Spain's Real Madrid, Italy's AC Milan, Britain's Arsenal FC, Germany's Hamburger SV, Greece's Olympiacos FC, Portugal's S.L. Benfica, in addition to the Asian Football Confederation and the Emirates FA Cup.

The airline operator also sponsors Rugby, Tennis, Horse riding athletes, and many others with millions of dollars, supporting both the games and their fans.

2- Saudi Aramco

In the spring of 2020, the world’s largest integrated oil and gas Saudi-based company announced signing a sponsorship agreement with Formula 1, the highest and most popular class in car racing competitions.

According to the announcement published on the company's website, "Aramco was granted the title rights to major Formula 1 races in 2020. Formula 1’s integrated digital platforms and broadcasts will also feature Aramco."

3- First Abu Dhabi Bank

Out of their commitment to  "supporting initiatives in sports, culture, and community," UAE's First Abu Dhabi Bank has also sponsored several athletes and clubs, including F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Al Ain Football Club, the UAE Cycling Team, and several others.

4- Qatar Airways

Dedicating millions to "a wide range of sporting activities and initiatives around the world," Qatari airlines is the official sponsor of the French Paris Saint-Germain FC, in addition to being the partner and the official airline for the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) until 2022, the year Qatar will be hosting the next World Cup.

It's also the official airline partner and retail sponsor for Qatar Tennis Federation Tournaments: Men's Open and Ladies Open and the official airline partner for the CHI Al Shaqab equestrian competition and many other events.

5- Etihad Airways

Supporting sports events in the UAE and around the globe, the second-largest flag carrier airline of the UAE has been sponsoring several of the world's most famous events and clubs, most notably Manchester City FC.

It's also been the official sponsor of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for a decade in addition to a number of other events.

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