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Sponsorship deal grows Emirates’ presence in Africa

Emirates' latest deal with a Tunisian sports club grows its global portfolio in football Supplied
Emirates' latest deal with a Tunisian sports club grows its global portfolio in football

Emirates airline is to sponsor a Tunisian sports club, as the Dubai carrier looks to increase its revenues in Africa.

The airline will sponsor Etoile Sportive du Sahel, which has teams across a number of sports including football, basketball, volleyball and handball. 

Emirates’ branding will be on the teams’ jerseys and training kits, as well as all indoor sports kits.

The tie-up begins at the start of the 2023-2024 season.

Thursday’s announcement adds to Emirates’ growing portfolio in football. English Premier League side Arsenal play at the Emirates Stadium while Spanish giants Real Madrid have the airline’s name on their shirts.

The company hopes this agreement will reach a new set of fans in North Africa.

The deal with Etoile Sportive du Sahel includes advertising and branding rights in the club’s stadium and indoor sports facilities, digital and social media activation rights, hospitality, meet and greet access to the athletes, and prominent visibility across the Sousse Olympic Stadium, training ground and indoor sports arena.

Africa accounts for 8 percent of total revenues for Emirates, or AED8.5 billion ($2.31 billion), according to its 2021-2022 annual report published in May.

This compares to AED9.2 billion in the 2019-2020 financial year and AED6.13 billion a decade ago in the 2011-2012 financial year.

“Amplifying our brand message on jerseys across their different sports divisions will help to create more meaningful connections with sports fan based in Tunis and across Africa,” Badr Abbas, Emirates’ senior vice president for commercial operations in Africa, said.

Emirates has been serving Tunisia for the past 17 years and flies to 25 African cities including Cairo, Tunis and Algiers.

“Obviously this is important locally and for the teams concerned but it’s not the biggest deal we should expect from an airline in that region this year,” John Grant, partner at Midas Aviation, said.

He added that increased competition from existing airlines, and new entrants in Saudi Arabia, would raise the stakes and price for such sponsorship deals in the future.