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China Southern Airlines wings into AFL with Melbourne FC

AFL Australian rules football team Melbourne FC has reached a deal to make China Southern Airlines a platinum plus partner for 2014.

The deal establishes China Southern Airlines alongside car rental company Hertz and the Do the NT travel group on the second tier of Melbourne’s sponsorship roster.

The airline is the first Chinese company to undertake a commercial partnership with an AFL team and will benefit from extensive exposure through the club’s media backdrop, scroll and parapet signage at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, match-day activations and a presence on the team’s official website and digital channels.

It is an agreement that spent a long time in the pipeline, with discussions between the two parties beginning in 2010 after Melbourne played Brisbane as part of the World Expo in Shanghai.

In November, Melbourne FC sealed a three-year agreement to make automotive retailing and logistics firm Automotive Holdings Group its major sponsor.