Emirates signs five-year sponsorship deal with Formula One

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum (L) and Bernie Ecclestone (R) The Emirates' total sports sponsorship is valued at 1bn dirhams (£172m) this year

Emirates airline has signed a five-year branding deal with Formula One in a bid to boost its global presence.

The deal has an annual value of at least $10m (£6.3m), according to Reuters, which quoted Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum.

The Emirates logo will now be displayed on Formula One circuit bridges, course grounds and in team paddocks, starting with the Malaysian Grand Prix in March.

In November, Emirates agreed to a new £150m sponsorship deal with Arsenal.

"Emirates will become the global partner with Formula One beginning in 2013," said Sheikh Ahmed, who is also the uncle of the ruler of Dubai.

"We are looking at sponsorship of more sports in the future if we feel this will promote Dubai and promote Emirates."

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, who was present at the signing ceremony in Dubai, said the deal would "lend strong support to [Emirates'] ambitious expansion plans".

The sponsorship deal includes 15 races this season starting in Malaysia, and historic circuits such as Silverstone in the UK and Monza in Italy. But it will not sponsor the Australian, Monaco, Bahrain or Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The airline's total sports sponsorship is valued at 1bn dirhams (£172m) this year, Sheikh Ahmed said.

Last November, the Arsenal football club signed a new deal with Emirates, extending its shirt sponsorship to 2019 as well as naming rights to the Emirates Stadium in north London to 2028.

With wages and costs of running a football club soaring, clubs are looking for more and more ways to earn money to compete on the European stage.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways sponsors Manchester City, while Barcelona will have the Qatar Airways name on their shirts in the next season.

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