Business Day (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Fifa Partnership Worth Every Cent - Emirates

Johannesburg — DESPITE the $100m price tag to become one of six official partners to soccer federation Fifa, Emirates Airline believes the exposure of being associated with the World Cup is worth every cent.

"Our aim with the sponsorship was to raise our visibility and position the airline as a global brand. This was the most cost-effective way to do that, allowing us to reach up to 2- billion people over the tournament," Boutros Boutros, director of corporate communications at Emirates, said yesterday.

The agreement allows Emirates not only to be associated with the World Cup but with all the Fifa events held over a four-year period. The airline has spent a further 100m on advertising and marketing to leverage its association with the world's largest sport tournament.

"To get the same kind of exposure online that we get from the World Cup sponsorship, for example, would cost about 3bn. When viewed in that light we believe that we have done well with the sponsorship."

Emirates signed on as an official partner ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

It has since renewed that agreement and will remain an official partner until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

While Mr Boutros acknowledges that ambush marketing campaigns from sports shoemaker Nike or even Dutch beer Bavaria may have led to more sales of their products, Emirates was more focused on long-term brand awareness.

Emirates on average spends about 2,4% of its annual revenue on marketing, sponsorships and advertising, with 1% or $110m on sponsorships alone.

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