Etihad Airways on board at New York City FC

Etihad Airways has been confirmed as the principal partner of New York City FC, the new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise set to debut next year.

14 November 2014 Michael Long
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Etihad Airways has been confirmed as the principal partner of New York City FC, the new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise set to debut next year.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline becomes one of the club’s founding partners, with its logo set to feature on the front of City’s new Adidas-made shirts.

Etihad has signed a five-year deal and will have extensive marketing rights spanning all of City’s assets, including access to players, branding on digital platforms and LED boards at their first home, Yankee Stadium.

Tim Pernetti, City’s chief business officer, described the deal and the unveiling of the club’s first-ever kit on Thursday as “a milestone day for New York City Football Club”, adding: “Our first home jersey is a huge part of our identity and we are proud that our kit and our team will be so strongly associated with a partner of the caliber of Etihad Airways.

“Today will be remembered as one of our most significant landmark moments as we build towards our historic inaugural season, due to kick off this coming March.”

Etihad’s investment strengthens the airline’s existing ties with City Football Group (CFG), which encompasses deals with Premier League champions Manchester City, who share ownership of New York City along with the New York Yankees baseball team, and A-League side Melbourne City.

It also builds on Etihad’s position as the official airline of Major League Soccer, which was announced in March.

James Hogan, the president and chief executive of Etihad, said: “Etihad Airways has a strong affinity with New York as it was the airline’s first US destination to be launched in 2006. We are delighted to be able to further strengthen our ties with the city through this partnership with New York City Football Club.

“Etihad Airways has a strong tradition of leading community-based activities and initiatives with our sports partners. We look forward to continuing this with New York City Football Club and its fans to promote the sport and the values such as team-work, winning and the pursuit of excellence.”

New York City are one of two clubs preparing to enter Major League Soccer next year, along with Orlando City SC.