Airline helps bring Louis Vuitton classic to Dubai

Global sports sponsorship strategy has helped to bring one of the sailing world's most prestigious races to Dubai in November.

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Emirates Airline's long-standing global sports sponsorship strategy has helped to bring one of the sailing world's most prestigious races to Dubai in November. The race, one of four making up the Louis Vuitton Trophy's 2010-2011 calendar, is part of an effort to keep America's Cup-style racing alive and in the public eye while the oldest trophy in sport works out internal disputes in the courts.

"It is clear that Dubai deserves an event of this category, with the support that the emirate has always put behind sailing in the last few years," said Yves Carcelle, the chairman and chief executive of Louis Vuitton. Sports sponsorship has long been a cornerstone of Emirates's marketing strategy, with the airline planning to spend Dh600 million (US$163.3m) in 2010-2011 on sponsorships and events, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline.

Its range of sponsorships include Arsenal Football Club and its stadium, AC Milan and the Dubai Tennis Championships. The airline began supporting elite sailing in 2003 when it became the sponsor of Team New Zealand. At the time, Team New Zealand had suffered defeats in the America's Cup and its chief executive, Grant Dalton, approached Emirates to help it "rebuild" and make the team internationally competitive.

Emirates had opened a route to New Zealand at the time and was also looking to build a more globally competitive brand, so it was a "match made in heaven", Mr Dalton said. November will mark the first time that UAE residents will be able to see this type of yacht racing, something Mr Dalton has long wanted to make happen. "It's an opportunity for us to showcase what we do for Emiratis and the people who have come for tourism to Dubai at that time," he said.

"It's also an opportunity for us to give some payback to what has now been a six-year relationship between Emirates and our team." @Email:khagey@thenational.ae