The UAE is spending big to achieve regional dominance and sport is benefiting. Recent high profile sailing sponsorships from the region include Team Oman’s eXtreme 40 campaign, the Kindom of Bahrain’s backing of Pindar Vendee Globe and match racing efforts and Emirates continued support for New Zealand’s Americas Cup team.
As the national carriers, airlines like Emirates and Etihad understand the connection between high profile professional sport and marketing. In an article in The National, Peter Baugartner, the Executive Vice President of Marketing for Ethihad says “Sponorship is a substantial amount of Etihad’s marketing budget, and that has a reason. Especially when you are a young brand, a sponsorship can help you to really accelerate your brand awareness.”
Abu Dhabi is sponsoring the innaugural World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco in December.
He points to the company’s sponsorships with international brands such as Formula One, Ferrari and Chelsea football club as examples of opportunities for the growing airline to communicate to a global audience.
The airline also targets sports such as All-Ireland Hurling, that may not be well known abroad, but are intensely popular in a market where Etihad has an important connection. “It’s something that is part of their culture, that’s very close to their heart,” he says. “We immediately built emotional loyalty that normally in the value chain comes at the very end… It gave us overnight fame in Ireland.”