Etihad Airways has agreed a five-year sponsorship deal with A-League outfit Melbourne City, reports, www.sportspromedia.com/. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier, which is also a major sponsor of the team's part-owner Manchester City, will become Melbourne City's lead partner.
Its logo will appear on the front of the side's home and away kits as part of an extensive package of branding rights, while it will also launch a range of joint initiatives such as children's football schools and promotional airfares for city fans.
The deal marks a continuation of Etihad's policy of following Manchester City's moves into new markets with its own sponsorship deals. In March Etihad became the official airline of Major League Soccer, months after City announced they were investing alongside the New York Yankees in expansion franchise New York City FC.
"Etihad Airways and the city of Melbourne have a special relationship," said Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan. "It's not only one of the most popular destinations in our global network, it's also the home of Etihad Stadium, Melbourne's premier sports and entertainment precinct.
"Our new partnership with Melbourne City FC further strengthens our ties with this great city and, we hope, will support the club and its army of fans in their bid to win the Hyundai A-League." Scott Munn, the Melbourne City chief executive, added: "We are very excited about what we are building here at Melbourne City and this new partnership with Etihad Airways underlines our growing potential both on and off the pitch."
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