'Emirates Stadium' deal is now official

Last updated : 05 October 2004 By Chris Parry
This is a big money deal which can only benefit the club in the long run. A lot of supporters will no doubt take a while to coe to terms with it, but the reality is that the board needed to do this deal in order to help secure the financial future of the club.

Here is the press release in full:

Arsenal announce naming rights deal with Emirates

Arsenal Football Club has today signed the biggest club sponsorship agreement in English football history with Emirates Airline, in an agreement worth £100 million.

The agreement provides the Dubai-based international airline with naming rights to Arsenal's new £357 million stadium. The new 60,000 seat stadium will be known as Emirates Stadium with immediate effect and for the next 15 years.

In addition, Emirates will take over as the Club's title sponsor - including 'Fly Emirates' shirt sponsorship - for eight years, starting from the 2006/07 season, the first playing season in the new Emirates Stadium.

The combined value of both elements of this sponsorship is by far the biggest deal ever undertaken in English football. It will also create a meaningful and long-lasting relationship between Emirates and Arsenal Football Club.

The agreement was signed today at Highbury by Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood and Maurice Flanagan, Emirates Vice Chairman and Group President.

Keith Edelman, Managing Director of Arsenal Football Club said: "The sheer size and scale of this deal is an amazing opportunity for Arsenal. We are delighted to have Emirates as our partner and sponsor.

"Emirates is a quality airline and an established global brand, with a proven track record in football and sport sponsorship. This long-term association is an excellent opportunity for both of us. It will help Arsenal reach new markets and build on our existing fan base across the world, thanks in no small part to the airline's global route network. We are grateful to Emirates for its faith in us and look forward to working with them."

Arsenal is one of the most famous and widely supported football clubs in the world. The Club enjoys support from its enormous fan base around the globe with interest in the team spreading from its traditional European base to encompass huge support in Asia, as well as in Australasia and the American continent. Emirates will work closely with Arsenal to extend this ever-growing fan base, to develop exciting opportunities for the team and the airline around the world.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates, believes sport sponsorship is a vital part of the airline's growth strategy and that Arsenal is a perfect partner for Emirates.

Sheikh Ahmed said: "This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sponsor such a major new stadium and club, and represents a win-win partnership for both Emirates and Arsenal.

"Arsenal Football Club has proved itself as one of the world's best, with an outstanding record in the English Premiership including, of course, being the current Premiership Champions, and also remaining unbeaten for the last 48 league matches."

Maurice Flanagan, Emirates Vice Chairman and Group President, said: "Arsenal's approach and winning team parallel the ambitions and achievements of Emirates Airline. We strive for quality of service and success in everything we do and these values are the essence of our exciting new partnership with Arsenal."

Sheikh Ahmed added: "Sports sponsorships provide an international platform to connect with our customers. We believe sponsorship is one of the best ways of getting closer to our customers. It allows us to share and support their interests and to build a personal relationship with them. There is no greater vehicle for this than through English football and we are looking forward to a long and very happy relationship with Arsenal."

Arsenal remains fully committed to its existing partnership with O2, which remains official Club and shirt sponsor on an exclusive basis until the end of the 2005/2006 season.

O2's relationship with Arsenal has been a tremendous success for both parties over the first two years of the sponsorship, bringing unprecedented awareness and creating powerful new ways to extend the community of Arsenal fans through interactive mobile services. Arsenal and O2 are committed to building on that success with a range of new activities, including a series of high profile events planned for the club's last season at Highbury in 2005/06. It is anticipated that the highly successful Arsenal Mobile joint venture, which provides fans with exclusive Arsenal content via a range of jointly branded mobile services, will continue beyond 2006.