The report suggests that Emirates Airlines has signed a £30 million ($US46 million) three-season deal with the FA, which would also see the tournament being re-named “The Emirates FA Cup.”
That’s quite a leap from previous title sponsor Budweiser’s agreement, where it was listed in marketing materials as a “presenting partner,” or “The FA Cup, in association with Budweiser.” That deal was worth £9 million ($US13.9 million) a year.
Sponsorship experts told Business Insider earlier this year that the drastic measure to re-name the Cup would need to be taken to attract a big commercial deal, to ensure that the incoming brand gets maximum visibility — similar to the way the Football League Cup is currently named the “Capital One Cup,” after its credit card company title sponsor.
However, the re-name of the oldest football knockout competition may not be popular with fans — not least because the Dubai-based airline has a strong affiliation with Premier League side Arsenal Football Club. Emirates has been a shirt sponsor since 2006, has naming rights to Arsenal’s home stadium “The Emirates,” and also runs an annual friendly football competition in the summer at the ground called “The Emirates Cup.”
An FA spokesman sought to squash rumours that a deal has already been signed with Emirates and told Business Insider: “Discussions remain ongoing with a number of parties in relation to FA Cup partner opportunities.”
Business Insider’s sponsorship industry sources told us that discussions had indeed taken place between Emirates and the FA, but they could not confirm how far down the line they were.
As The Daily Mail points out, Emirates has “big money to spend,” after it made the decision last November not to renew its £30 million-per-year ($US46 million) sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup. That decision followed corruption claims leveled at world football’s governing body surrounding the bidding process for the World Cup, particularly the 2022 tournament held in Qatar.
Emirates is also not involved in the tender for a Champions League airline sponsor, according to The Daily Mail.
Signing Emirates as the FA Cup’s title sponsor will be a relief to the FA, which will be welcoming new chief executive, former United Biscuits boss Martin Glenn, into the association next month.
The FA Cup Final takes place at Wembley Stadium on May 30, between cup-holders Arsenal and fellow Premier League side Aston Villa.