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Etihad Wins Major European Sponsorship Award

Etihad Airways, The National Airline Of The United Arab Emirates, Has Won The ‘European Sponsorship Of The Year’ Award In The Business To Consumer Category For Its Sponsorship Of The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) Hurling In Ireland

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has won the ‘European Sponsorship of the Year’ award in the business to consumer category for its sponsorship of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) hurling in Ireland. The awards, hosted by the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) and held at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel in Brussels, are respected across the multi-billion dollar global sponsorship industry with Etihad competing with Vodafone, Shell, Royal Bank of Scotland and Puma for the prestigious title. James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “To win an award like this, so early on in our partnership with the GAA, is a terrific achievement. Etihad always aims to develop strong links with local communities through its sponsorships and we’re pleased to have formed a connection with the grass roots of this sport which is at the heart of the Irish people.” The Abu Dhabi-based airline is the first Middle East company to win such an award. Nicky Brennan, president of the GAA, added: "The Etihad partnership with hurling has been a huge success. The airline’s brand is now known across Ireland and Etihad’s services from Dublin have shown spectacular growth. Perhaps the greatest compliment that we can pay Etihad is that we appreciate their respect for the GAA’s and hurling’s culture and heritage. The airline’s collaborative approach with the hurling community has increased the impact of their sponsorship, which is truly a partnership with the Irish community both here and overseas." Etihad started its sponsorship of hurling in March 2008 and the Abu Dhabi-based airline received praise from the award judges for the way it immediately engaged with its audience in Ireland through promotions across radio, television and print media. The promotions included an innovative competition which allowed entrants to nominate friends and family around the world to win flights with Etihad to watch the hurling final which took place in September in the Irish capital Dublin between Kilkenny and Waterford. There was also a competition entitled “best club under the sun” for an amateur hurling team to win a trip to Abu Dhabi for a winter training camp. The competition aimed to reward a team that made a difference in their local community and was won by Portumna from Galway. Etihad also hosted regular online competitions both on its company internet pages as well as the specially created website. Commercially, the hurling sponsorship has also had a significant impact on Etihad ticket sales. The ‘European Sponsorship of the Year’ award is the latest award the airline has won for its Irish links. Earlier this year, Etihad also picked up the prestigious title of “best business class airline” at the Irish Travel Trade News Awards. Recently Etihad was voted ‘airline of the year’ at the British Travel Awards and by Aviation Business magazine. In addition to the hurling Etihad also sponsors the London-based Harlequins rugby club and Chelsea Football club as well as the Ferrari Formula 1 racing team and the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which starts in 2009. Etihad also announced last month that from March 2009 the Telstra Dome in Melbourne, which has a capacity of 55,000, will be re-named the Etihad Stadium.

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