sport

Emirates sponsorship deal for F1

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has inked a deal that proves the sport can continue to attract major market players.

Doubts have been raised about F1's viability of late due to a swathe of issues, including HRT going into liquidation, the influx of paid drivers, the lack of a 20th race this year, and doubts regarding the German Grand Prix.

But in a coup for the sport, and coming hard on the heels of Mercedes yesterday announcing a three-year, 22million deal with Blackberry, F1 has joined forces with Emirates.

The Dubai-based airline have signed a five-year agreement as a global partner, understood to be worth 125million, that will see their branding at 15 races this year.

They will be absent at Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, where rival airlines in Gulf and Etihad are title sponsors, along with Australia and Monaco.

Via a statement, Ecclestone said: "Emirates has a first-class international reputation and I'm very pleased to welcome such a prestigious company as a global partner of Formula One.

"Watching Formula One races live in flight will be something special for Emirates customers, and Emirates branding at this many races on the calendar will lend strong support to their ambitious expansion plans.

"With considerable overlap between their priority markets and our own I look forward to many successful years working on this important partnership together".

For Emirates, the deal continues their growing reach into sport in general as they sponsor Arsenal, Paris St Germain and AC Milan.

They will also be a sponsorship partner of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and are due to become the official airline of the ATP World Tour tournament.