Etihad Arways checks in for a new sponsorship journey with Major League Soccer

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Major League Soccer today announced the multi-year renewal of its partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates.

The two organizations first became partners in 2014. With this extension, Etihad Airways continues its role as the official airline partner of MLS and deepens its commitment to the U.S. and Canada markets.


To announce the extension, Etihad Airways has teamed up with popular soccer personalities Roger Bennett and Michael Davies of Men in Blazers to tell soccer’s incredible global story and the many intersections between MLS and the airline.

Under the renewed sponsorship, Etihad Airways and MLS will collaborate through the MLS Flight Path campaign, bringing competitions and VIP experiences for fans at the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target and at the MLS Cup. The Skytrax Certified 5-Star Airline will also conduct promotions for fans to win flights and holidays to its home of Abu Dhabi. MLS Flight Path explores the global paths players have taken to become MLS stars through exclusive features and interactive digital maps.

Etihad Airways and MLS are celebrating the start of the season by inviting fans to share their best soccer-related travel photos on social media with the hashtag #MLSFlightPath. In April, two lucky fans will win a VIP experience at the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target in Chicago, where they will compete head-to-head for a chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Abu Dhabi.

Patrick Pierce, Vice President Marketing Partnerships at Etihad Airways, said: “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Major League Soccer, reinforcing our long-term commitment to North American soccer fans. Etihad Airways and MLS share the same spirit of global connectivity through sports, and we are dedicated to celebrating soccer’s rising popularity in the U.S., Canada and beyond.”

Major League Soccer represents the sport’s highest level in the United States and Canada, comprising 22 teams, with 19 in the U.S. and three in Canada. The MLS season runs from March to December.

Jennifer Cramer, Vice President of Partnership Marketing, MLS, said: “We are extremely proud to extend our partnership with Etihad Airways and build upon our relationship with one of the world’s best airlines. At MLS, we are dedicated to serving our global audience, which is why it is truly exciting to partner with a premium global brand whose values and approach mirror our own. Together, we will continue to build upon our commitment to global soccer and its dedicated fans.”

Etihad Airways currently operates 45 return flights each week between Abu Dhabi and six American cities – Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York JFK, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Through Etihad Airways’ hub in Abu Dhabi, the airline offers passengers from the United States direct access to the UAE capital, and seamless connections to the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Etihad supports soccer globally through various partnerships including a Principal Partnership with New York City Football Club, Manchester City Football Club, Melbourne City Football Club, Al Ittihad Football Club and Al Ain Football Club in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Other sponsorships in the U.S. include official airline deals with the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA), the Washington Mystics (WNBA) and IMG Fashion, supporting 17 Fashion Week events annually, including New York Fashion Week.