Air Berlin to sponsor cult club FC St Pauli

Air Berlin has agreed a two-year sponsorship deal with recently promoted German soccer club FC St Pauli.

Air Berlin has agreed a two-year sponsorship deal with recently promoted German soccer club FC St Pauli.

In a deal worth an annual US$255,000, Air Berlin will become the Hamburg-based club's official airline, with extensive branding rights at the club's home Millerntor-Stadion. Air Berlin will also fly the team to league fixtures and to its pre-season training camp, and will operate fan-based initiatives such as a fan flight package for away games and a pitchside "fan sofa" at home games.

Joachim Hunold, the chief executive of Air Berlin, congratulated the team on an "outstanding season", adding: "Hamburg is of great importance to Air Berlin and we are very pleased that our commitment to FC St. Pauli allows us to widen our sponsorship base in Hamburg."

FC St Pauli commercial manager Michael Meeske said: "As a challenger among airlines, Air Berlin has always remained true to its values, which makes it an ideal partner for us."

Next season, FC St Pauli will play in the top flight of the Bundesliga for the first time in eight years after finishing in the top two of the 2. Bundesliga. The team will win this year's 2. Bundesliga title if it beats SC Paderborn in the final game of the season on Sunday, and league leaders 1. FC Kaiserslautern fail to beat third-placed FC Augsburg.