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ECB reveals Etihad Airways partnership

MUMBAI: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a three-year deal with Etihad Airways which will see the carrier become the board’s first ever official airline.

The agreement means that all England national squads across men’s, women’s, age-group and disability cricket will fly with the national airline of the United Arab Emirates.

In return, the airline will benefit from a comprehensive range of commercial rights including access to England players for promotional appearances, advertising at international grounds in England and Wales, tickets and hospitality packages.

The agreement will encompass England’s domestic international and overseas touring programme from 2014-2016, extend to winter training camps in the UAE involving England squads and also include a joint community-based cricket initiative.

ECB CEO David Collier said, “We are delighted to welcome such a prestigious global brand as Etihad into our ever-expanding family of commercial partners. This is a major business partnership for ECB which will bring significant benefits to all our England teams and we will be working closely with Etihad to deliver maximum exposure for their brand.”

Etihad Airways chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner said, “The welcome addition of the England cricket team to our growing portfolio of global sporting associations demonstrates our commitment to the UK market and also to major international sporting events.

“Cricket enables Etihad Airways to create strong synergies between the key cricket playing nations and our major flight networks across the Indian subcontinent, Australia and the UK. Cricket forms an important part of our international marketing strategy, providing us with an ideal platform to further build our brand in the UK, and create a deeper connection with our guests through supporting one of England’s favourite sports.”

In addition to the England cricket team, Etihad Airways’ sports sponsorship portfolio includes Manchester City Football Club, the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) franchise cricket team – the Mumbai Indians, the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship, Major League Soccer in the US, and the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Etihad Airways currently operates three flights a day from London Heathrow, as well as a twice daily service from Manchester to Abu Dhabi, where passengers can connect to its network of destinations in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.