Feb 16, 2012 at 02:08 PM
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U.S. Open Series Gets New Title Sponsor

Emirates Airline will replace Olympus as title sponsor of the U.S. Open Series it was announced today, ironically only hours after chief executives at Olympus were arrested over accounting irregularities. As part of the new agreement with Emirates, the airline will become the “Official Airline of the US Open ” and the title sponsor of the “Emirates Airline US Open Series,” whose 10 events form the summer hardcourt professional tennis season and lead into the US Open.

The seven-year partnership, which the Wall Street Journal reports is worth more than $90 million, will enable the airline to strengthen its brand in the U.S. and North America. In an ironic twist, seven top executives were arrested today from former U.S. Open Series title sponsor, Olympus, after one of the largest accounting scandals in recent history. In recent years, Olympus had also been in a category dispute with the U.S. Open over Panasonic's recent involvement.

The sponsorship rights include integrated consumer experiential elements and substantial digital media assets and opportunities. Emirates will have a significant on-court presence and also receive global promotional rights. In 2011, the US Open Series collectively reached a U.S. viewing audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 fans.

“Our new partnership with the USTA and sponsorship of the prestigious US Open represents a further strengthening of Emirates’ presence within the United States,” said Sir Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice-Chairman of Emirates Airline & Group. “With the launch of Seattle, our sixth U.S. gateway on March 1, Emirates will soon offer 59 flights a week to North America, connecting more U.S. consumers than ever to our vast global network spanning six continents.”

“Our continued expansion across the country and the advent of a new brand era for Emirates makes this the perfect time to embark on our first major, national sponsorship in the United States,” continued Sir Maurice. “Through this partnership, we hope to create a deeper connection with our customers through sharing in and supporting their passions. Emirates is a strong champion of North American sports and this sponsorship will enable us to enhance the fan experience at these tournaments while building a lasting relationship with tennis in the U.S.”

“This partnership truly is a combination of prestigious global brands and we’re thrilled to welcome Emirates Airline as a USTA Corporate Champion,” said Lew Sherr, Chief Revenue Officer, USTA. “While we look forward to supporting Emirates’ efforts to build awareness in the U.S., we’re also excited to leverage their global network and promote our events to an equally sophisticated, global clientele.”

Through the sponsorship, Emirates will enhance attendees’ experiences and engage with viewers through mainstream and digital platforms and an on-site presence during all US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series events. During the 2012 US Open in New York (August 27 – September 9), Emirates will create an integrated fan experience – both on and off the court – demonstrating the airline’s award-winning, world-class service, as well as opening doors to Emirates’ network of destinations across six continents.

As presenting sponsor of the US Open Club, Emirates will enhance the on-site upscale dining venue and provide interactive elements to elevate attendees’ overall involvement at the event. Travelers on Emirates will enjoy inflight content featuring classic US Open matches and recap programs. Emirates Skywards members will also enjoy onsite promotional experiences. Emirates will be integrated into all Emirates Airline US Open Series broadcasts across CBS Sports, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel through on-air billboards, interstitials and in-broadcast features. When combined, the 2011 US Open and US Open Series drew more than 1.5 million fans and provided more than $40 million in prize money to men’s and women’s professional tennis players.

“This sponsorship provides Emirates with a unique opportunity to engage with local communities across the United States through the USTA’s community initiatives,” added Sir Maurice. “By building bridges with local communities through sport, Emirates hopes to unite fans, engage in meaningful conversations and bring global cultures together.”

Emirates will replace Continental as the U.S. Open's official airline.