The Etihad Stadium naming rights arrangement has now taken on official status.
The new title kicked in on Sunday, March 1 as a prelude to the Carlton v Hawthorn NAB Cup Round 2 match.
Carlton will go down in history as the first AFL club to take the honours under the Etihad Stadium banner.
The hisotry making deal was announced in October, 2008 at a press conference held at the stadium attended by James Hogan, Chief Executive of Etihad Airways, and Ian Collins AM, Chief Executive of Melbourne Stadiums Limited (MSL).
The five-year deal is Etihad’s first major sporting sponsorship in Australia and will see the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s branding feature prominently inside and outside the stadium, including on perimeter signage and giant scoreboards.
Mr Collins said then it was extremely exciting that the stadium had secured an international partner which would assist in the delivery and launch of a new brand for Victoria.
“This marks a new and very exciting chapter for the venue,” Mr Collins said.
“Etihad Airways like our company has developed an outstanding international reputation through the delivery of first class services, and we are delighted to have them as a partner,” he said
“Since the stadium was established in 2000, our international profile has continued to grow through the staging of many world-class sports and entertainment events, and we believe this association with Etihad Airways will assist in the continued growth of both partners,” Mr Collins said.
Mr Hogan said: “Sport sponsorships form a major part of Etihad’s international marketing strategy. Building on the success of our existing sporting associations with the Ferrari F1 team, Chelsea Football Club, Harlequins Rugby Football
Club and the all Ireland Senior Hurling Championships, this latest deal will further strengthen our growing ties with Australia, particularly Melbourne where we will begin flying in March 2009.”
“Australia is a hugely important and rapidly growing market for our airline, and this deal provides an excellent opportunity to continue building our global brand and forge close and long-lasting relationships with the Australian travelling
public, many of whom we know are huge sports fans. As a Melbournian, I am particularly proud that our airline is now so closely associated with my home city,” Mr Hogan said.
Mr Collins said the partnership further illustrates the stadium’s standing as a world-class venue.
“Etihad sponsors some of the greatest names in the sporting world and we are proud to be a part of that,” he added.
Mr Collins also expressed thanks and paid tribute to Telstra - MSL’s naming rights partner since October 2002.
Telstra Executive Director of Brands and Communications, Ms Amanda Johnston said that Telstra gained a high level of brand awareness as a direct result of the naming rights sponsorship.
“We are pleased to have such a quality organisation following us as the sponsor of the Dome, which remains a great asset to Melbourne. Telstra will remain the stadium’s principal communications partner, so in this way, our relationship with the Dome will continue.”
“Sponsorship and our support of sports, the community and the arts, remain a key part of Telstra’s marketing activity and we are now focussing on building strategic and valuable partnerships which connect us to Australians across the country and give us more intimate opportunities to communicate with our customers and shareholders,” Ms Johnston continued.
Mr Collins said Telstra has been an outstanding naming rights partner and MSL was also grateful for the telco’s assistance and support throughout the new naming rights process.