Emirates will retain naming rights to the Lions Super Rugby team’s Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg as part of a new five-year deal.
The 62,500-capacity stadium, which staged the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, will officially remain known as Emirates Airline Park until 2024.
The agreement, which builds on a deal first signed in 2015, will see Emirates retain its status as title sponsor of the Emirates Lions team. Emirates branding will continue to be displayed on the Lions’ match and training kits and on all marketing collateral.
Times Live reports that the deal took 18 months to broker and is worth “well in excess” of R100m (£6.4m/$7.2m) over the five-year term.
“We have enjoyed a memorable journey with the Emirates Lions, and the response and support we have received has been tremendous,” said Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ SVP of marketing.
“South Africa is one of the top rugby-playing nations in the world, with very passionate fans, and to continue our partnership with such an established local team, is a matter of great pride for us. Sport is an incredibly powerful connector of people, and as a brand, it has always been close to our heart.”
As well as being the naming partner of Premier League football club Arsenal’s home stadium since it opened in 2006, Emirates has an extensive list of partnerships in rugby. The airline has been associated with the Rugby World Cup since 2007 and title sponsor of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens for over 20 years.
Lions Rugby Company chief executive Rudolf Straeuli said, “Our partnership with Emirates has grown the Lions brand internationally and locally. We are proud to be associated with such a powerful partner and the five-year extension will enable us to grow further as a franchise, enjoying additional stability and excellence.”
The stadium hosted five Rugby World Cup matches in 1995, including South Africa’s memorable final win against New Zealand. It also staged seven FIFA World Cup games in 2010, including two Brazil matches and Spain’s quarter-final defeat of Paraguay.
The Ellis Park site hosted its first major rugby match in June 1928 when South Africa hosted New Zealand. The original stadium was demolished and rebuilt in 1979 with further renovations in the 1980s and ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Image: Legio09 (Flickr)