Emirates ends title sponsorship of Australian Open
Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, has ended its title sponsorship of golf's Australian Open, as part of broader plans to cut back on commercial partnerships in sport in the country.
Emirates became title sponsor of the tournament in 2011, having been its official airline since 2009, but has decided not to renew the A$2- million ($1.57-million) per year deal, which expired after last year's event in November, won by Cameron Davis (pictured).
Golf Australia said it had been “aware” of Emirates' position “for some time now,” and that, along with the Lagardère Sports agency, the Australian Open's commercial partner, it has “been fielding interest from other potential naming rights sponsors over the last few months.”
Emirates will continue as a sponsor of tennis' grand slam Australian Open, but it is reviewing other properties in its portfolio. Just last year it ended its association with Australian horse racing's showpiece Melbourne Cup, having been title sponsor since 2005.
Boutros Boutros, head of worldwide sponsorship at Emirates, told The Australian newspaper: “When we first came [to Australia], nobody had heard of Emirates. Definitely, our research says our brand recognition in Australia is now very high. [The sponsorships] are no longer necessary.
“We don’t need it [the Australian Open] any more. If I have a deal with the European Tour, why do I need another side deal? You need to be smart.
“When you look at Emirates’ sponsorships, we cover the globe. Every Australian who follows golf will continue seeing Emirates around the world. Same with horse racing. Same with soccer. At the end of the day, I have a budget every year. You have to follow your research and outcome.”