Emirates partnered with Arsenal, Real Madrid and AC Milan football clubs and set up a surprise video call for the most deserving fans. 

The fans joined the video call thinking they would be recapping the year and sharing their passion for sport. However they were surprised by the appearance of top football players and were given Emirates flight tickets and match tickets to watch the clubs they support.

The Arsenal Club fans were chosen by the various Arsenal Supporters Clubs and each were gifted with two flight tickets to London and two tickets to watch an Arsenal game of their choice at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal’s top players, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Bernd Leno, Granit Xhaka, pretended to join the video call as “technical support assistants”, thus pleasantly surprising the fans. 

The Real Madrid star players Thibaut Courtois, Toni Kroos, Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio joined the call to present the fans with flight tickets to Madrid and a special invitation to watch them play. Similarly, AC Milan players Alessio Romagnoli, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Franck Kessié made a surprise appearance and gifted their fans with a flight ticket to Milan. 

“Emirates has been a proud sponsor of Real Madrid, AC Milan, Arsenal, and for 9, 13, and 16 years respectively, connecting with sports fans through a shared passion for the game,” read the airline’s statement on their website. 

“Throughout the year, when many countries were under strict lockdown, Emirates joined hands with its sponsorship partners to engage with communities around the world through campaigns and initiatives that let people know they were not alone, providing information, motivation, inspiration, and entertainment.”

Emirates Stadium, the fourth largest football stadium in England, is the home of Arsenal Football Club. Emirates first signed the sponsorship agreement with Arsenal in 2004, giving the airline the naming rights to the stadium until 2021 and a shirt sponsorship that started in 2006. In 2012, Arsenal football club signed a new £150 million deal with Emirates, extending its shirt sponsorship to 2019 and the naming rights to the stadium to 2028. The sponsorship deal is one of the biggest in football history. 

Airlines have been on the lookout for football club sponsorship opportunities for a while. For example, Qatar Airways has sponsored Barcelona Football Club since 2011, when the agreement worth €30 million a year was signed. 

Likewise, in 2011 Etihad Airways and Manchester City entered into a 10-year sponsorship agreement, which included naming rights for Manchester City’s stadium. The home of Manchester City Football Club is known as the Etihad Stadium.

Since the halt that followed the coronavirus crisis, Emirates Airline restored around 70% of their pre-pandemic passenger network. The airline used to fly to more than 150 destinations across the world, currently serving 99.

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