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Bayern Munich and Qatar Airways end $50m sponsorship

Bayern Munich Qatar Airways Reuters/DDP Images/Star Images
Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim players compete for the ball: AP estimated that the Bayern Munich and Qatar Airways sponsorship was worth $10.5 million per year
  • Deal was estimated to be worth $10.5m a year
  • Bayern fans were against renewal
  • New Saudi carriers will shake up competition for such deals

German football club Bayern Munich will not renew its five-year sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways after it expires this month.

The decision was made by mutual consent, according to a joint statement issued on the club’s website on Wednesday.

“The connections that FC Bayern has been able to forge with its fans in the Arab world through Qatar Airways will remain. Both partners have actively promoted an exchange between cultures,” the statement said.

Akbar Al Baker, group CEO of Qatar Airways said it had been “a fruitful partnership” with Bayern, during which the team won the 2019-20 Uefa Champions League and Fifa Club World Cup in Qatar.

The sponsorship had been the subject of controversy at the German club, and fan groups actively campaigned for it not to be renewed after this month.

“We continue to stand by our position that we’re absolutely against an extension of the sponsorship agreement,” Alexander Salzweger from fan group Club No. 12 told The Associated Press in January.

AP estimated that the sponsorship was worth $10.5 million per year. The previous shirt sponsor was Doha Airport, Qatar Airways’ home base.

Meanwhile, rival Gulf carrier Emirates continues to expand its football sponsorship network. The Dubai airline will sponsor a Tunisian sports club, as it seeks to increase its revenues in Africa. 

The Dubai-based airline, which sponsors English Premier League side Arsenal and Spanish giant Real Madrid, last week announced a new deal with Tunisian sports club Etoile Sportive du Sahel, as part of a bid to widen its exposure to the African market.

John Grant, partner at Midas Aviation, told AGBI the launching of new major airlines in Saudi Arabia means sponsorship deals between Gulf carriers and football clubs were likely to become more competitive.

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