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Volume 10 No. 25
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Global Airline Sponsorship For Sports Teams, Leagues Reaches $515M Annually

Global sponsorship from the airline industry has now reached $515M per year, according to a new report from Sponsorship Today. The 46-page report, which analyzes more than 260 deals across the world, shows that two carriers, Emirates and Etihad, account for almost half of the entire amount spent globally on sponsorship, with Emirates now spending $182M per year on rights fees alone. Sponsorship Today Editor Simon Rines said, "Emirates has used sponsorship as a key tool in both building brand image and informing potential customers about its route network. The annual $182M rights spend could be argued to be a very small investment compared to that spent on infrastructure." U.S. carriers continue to invest around $100M between them annually. The report shows that Europe’s "legacy" carriers have generally cut back on sponsorship spend under the pressure of big losses and increased competition. Aeroflot is now the continent’s biggest spender having taken rights to both Sochi 2014 and CSKA Moscow, with British Airways and Turkish Airlines the only other carriers to make the top 20 in sports investment. Spend among Asian-based carriers is relatively low, with Korean Air and AirAsia the most serious players (Sponsorship Today).

Top 10 spenders on sports sponsorship rights:

Airline Annual Rights Expenditure % of Total Spend
Emirates $182.56M 35%
Etihad $65.9M 13%
Aeroflot $39.75M 8%
United Airlines $30.4M 6%
Delta Airlines $28.25M 5%
British Airways $20M 4%
Turkish Airlines $19M 4%
American Airlines $16.4M 3%
Qantas $12.8M 2%
Air Canada $11.92M 2%