The national airline of the UAE has entered a three year deal with ADSC to support sports activities and major sporting events in Abu Dhabi. The strategic initiative replaces an event- by-event approach and contributes to a longer term vision for sports in line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.
Hareb Almuhairy, Senior Vice President, Corporate and International Affairs, Etihad Airways, said: “This agreement cements our work together to promote Abu Dhabi as an outstanding destination for major international sporting events. These events bring considerable economic benefits, provide excellent opportunities for resident and visiting sports fans and encourage a healthy and active lifestyle.”
At least 15 events will be covered under the new partnership, including headliners such as January’s annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and this month’s professional cycling race, the Abu Dhabi Tour. It is expected that eventually, dozens of events will be jointly supported as new sports initiatives are attracted to the emirate.
“This deal represents a more structured and long-term approach to delivering on our vision of evolving Abu Dhabi into an international destination for sport, competitiveness and international events. Etihad Airways will bring to the table considerable marketing clout which will further build local, regional and global awareness of our headline events,” explained His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, ADSC.
The new partnership will see Etihad Airways leverage all of its marketing channels to promote major sporting events in the emirate. The agreement also opens the way for special athlete appearances, guest experiences and community engagement activities.
Etihad Cargo will provide support for sports equipment, contributing to what is effectively a bridge to bring the world’s best athletes and action to Abu Dhabi.
An Oxford Business Group study, entitled The Report Abu Dhabi 2016, notes that while Abu Dhabi was largely unknown in the international sporting world just 10 years ago, it has since sprinted onto the global stage by hosting high profile sporting events, such as the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Other events have included the ITU World Triathlon Series, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (Ladies European Tour).
“The positive impact of major sports events on tourism is well documented, with benefits such as airline passenger traffic, hotel stays and visitor spend,” added Mr Almuhairy. “At the same time, we are always looking for ways to connect and inspire our guests. Sport provides a wonderful platform to do this.”
Among the other events covered under the new partnership are the FINA 10k Open Water World Championship, the FINA High-Dive World Cup, Emirates Football Forum and the FIBA Basketball 3 x 3 World Championship.