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Emirates becomes Naming Rights Sponsor of Western Force

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Leading international airline Emirates has struck a multi-million dollar sponsorship arrangement with Australia‘s new Super 14 rugby team, the Western Force.


The announcement was made today at the formal unveiling of the team’s Number One and Alternative playing jerseys at a gala luncheon in Perth, before 800 guests.


Emirates Senior Vice-President for East Asia and Australasia, Richard Vaughan said Emirates was delighted to become the Western Force’s naming rights sponsor, in a deal which will last until 2008.


Mr Vaughan said Emirates had been a strong supporter of rugby in a number of countries but had waited for the right opportunity to get behind the game in Australia.


He said the seed of that opportunity was sown in December when Perth won the bid for the fourth Australian Super 14 team.


‘We have been flying out of Perth since 2002 and have developed a special relationship with West Australians. A sponsorship like the Emirates Western Force will help us develop that relationship,’ Mr Vaughan said.


Emirates WA Sales Manager Darren Tyrrell said the Western Force operated on a set of values with which Emirates could identify.


‘Energy, unity, vision, growth, pride and professionalism ‘ and we look forward to a very fruitful partnership with the team in the months ahead.’


RugbyWAchief executive Peter O’Meara said he was thrilled to have an organization like Emirates as the naming rights sponsor of the Western  Force.


He said the airline’s standing and reputation was impeccable and he considered it a privilege to have them on board.


‘They’ve backed some of the best sporting teams and events in the world, and we are delighted that they have decided to get behind our Super 14 team,’ he said.


Mr O’Meara described the sponsorship as a ‘team-maker’ and one which would go a long way in ensuring the financial viability of the Western Force over the next three years.


He said attracting a respected name like Emirates was proof the Super 14 competition was a contest with strong international appeal.


‘The Emirates brand will be seen on television sets and in stadia throughout the Southern hemisphere, and the world. Not many provincial sporting teams can offer their sponsors that sort of coverage,’ Mr O’Meara said.


Western Force coach John Mitchell said he was delighted at the design of the team’s jersey, saying the powerful black swan icon was a key feature.


He told the luncheon the jersey would be the most enduring symbol of the team and will come to represent values like power, strength, commitment and mateship.


‘I will remind the players that respect for the jersey equates to respect for the people of Western Australia, a respect best shown by effort and commitment,’ he said.


‘I will remind them of the need to appreciate the honour of wearing the jersey because, while many West Australians would cherish the opportunity to wear it, very few will ever have the privilege.’


‘I will remind them they only have minutes in the jersey, and they must not take each one for granted. Make the most of those finite moments, don’t waste or regret them.’


ABOUT EMIRATES


Launched in 1985, Dubai-based Emirates is the international airline of the United Arab Emirates. It is among the world’s fastest growing, and six most profitable airlines. Its fleet of 77 passenger aircraft flies to more than 75 destinations in 54 countries around the world and in its last financial year, carried 12.5 million passengers.


Emirates launched flights between Dubai and Perth in August 2002 with four flights a week, increasing to daily flights in March 2003.  The airline also flies daily non-stop from Dubai to Sydney and Melbourne, flies daily to Brisbane via Singapore, as well as 28 weekly flights from Australia onward to New Zealand.


Emirates supports some of the world’s pre-eminent sporting teams and events. Last year, the airline signed the biggest club sponsorship deal in English football history with Arsenal Football Club.  The airline is also an official partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup and is sponsoring Emirates Team New Zealand’s America‘s Cup challenge in 2007.


In Australia, Emirates is also the main sponsor of the West Australian, Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, the Emirates Melbourne Cup and the Collingwood Australian Rules Football Club.


ABOUT THE WESTERN FORCE


In December last year, Rugby WA won the right to host the fourth Australian team in the Toohey’s New Super 14 rugby competition.


In February, banker Peter O’Meara became Rugby WA‘s new chief executive and former All Black player, captain and coach, John Mitchell was appointed head coach of the new team.


In April, Rugby WA formally named the team, the Western Force, and has been on a recruitment drive ever since, and is now very close to finalizing its playing squad of 33.


ABOUT SUPER 14


The Toohey’s New Super 14 rugby competition is regarded as the toughest provincial rugby competition in the world.


The season runs from February to June and involves four teams from Australia, five teams from New Zealand and five teams from South Africa.


It is the premier competition from which players are selected to represent their respective countries.


ABOUT THE JERSEY


The Western Force jersey features a black swan icon, wrapped from back to front and set in ocean blue.


The blue represents the State’s beautiful coastline and clear skies, while the gold ‘ dominant on the away jersey ‘ reflects our pristine beaches.

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