Etihad Airways transfers to Melbourne City

Australian A-League football team Melbourne City has announced a five-year deal to make Abu Dhabi airline Etihad Airways its principal partner.

Under the agreement, Etihad’s branding will feature on the front of Melbourne City’s home and away kits.

Etihad replaces Westpac as the team’s shirt sponsor, although the Australian financial services firm will feature as the shorts sponsor on Melbourne City’s kits for the 2014-15 season.

In addition to extensive branding opportunities, Etihad Airways will collaborate with Melbourne City on initiatives such as football schools for children, regular fan competitions and promotional airfares for club members and fans.

Melbourne City has been rebranded from its previous name of Melbourne Heart for 2014-15 after English Premier League champion Manchester City bought a controlling stake in the team.

Etihad is Manchester City’s shirt sponsor and holds the naming rights to its stadium and training complex under an ongoing 10-year deal.

Alongside Melbourne City and Manchester City, Etihad’s sports sponsorship portfolio also includes Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium.