Johannesburg - The Lions on Thursday official announced their partnership with global airlines company Emirates.
According to the Lions’ official website, it is a five-year sponsorship agreement.
The agreement will see Emirates become the title sponsor of the Lions Super Rugby team and have naming rights to the Lions home ground Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
The announcement was made at a media conference by Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for Latin America, Southern and Central Africa, and Rudolf Straeuli, the CEO of the Golden Lions Rugby Union.
Starting from January 1, 2015, the Lions will become known as the Emirates Lions, and the familiar “Fly Emirates” logo will adorn the match and training jerseys of the team for the next five years.
Ellis Park, will be named Emirates Airline Park. The agreement also includes in-stadia hospitality as well as a number of other marketing rights and activities.
“Emirates is a strong champion of rugby worldwide and South Africa is one of the top rugby playing nations with very passionate supporters. We are therefore delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor one of the country’s most popular and established teams. It’s the first major sponsorship by Emirates of a South African team, and this will certainly raise the visibility of the Emirates brand not just here, but also in our key markets of New Zealand and Australia where the Super Rugby competition is played, and a number of other markets in which the games are televised,” said Abbas.
“Our new association with the Lions enables us to be part of Ellis Park, which is an historical and famous venue in the country, most notably for hosting the Rugby World Cup final in 1995 which South Africa won. This was the same year in which Emirates first started operations to the country, and today we enable trade and provide connections for South Africans from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg to Dubai and beyond to our network of more than 140 destinations around the world,” he added.
“At the Golden Lions Rugby Union we pride ourselves on growth and performance. We are thus thrilled to partner with Emirates – a world-leader in its field who is constantly looking to expand and develop. We are tremendously grateful to Emirates for their support and belief. It is wonderful to have financial stability, as a result of the support from this international, iconic brand, over the next five years,” said Straeuli.
“We are looking forward to working closely together in not only developing rugby at grassroots level in both South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, but also expanding the game of rugby across the globe. As 2015 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Springboks’ 1995 Rugby World Cup win at Ellis Park, it is exciting for us to have secured Emirates as a stadium sponsor from next year. We know that we will share many more happy memories, alongside Emirates, at this hallowed ground,” he added.
The Lions kick off their 2015 Super Rugby campaign on Friday, February 13, 2015, when they take on the Hurricanes of New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park.