Talks over a proposed £30m three year deal with the UAE airline, which would improve on Budweiser’s previous £9m a year contract, are reportedly at an advanced stage and would justify the vision of the FA’s commercial director Stuart Turner, who has been holding out for an improved deal.
Under the previous Budweiser sponsorship, the FA Cup was branded ‘In association with’ the beer brand. However, if agreed, the new deal will see the tournament completely rebranded to include the Emirates brand.
Despite the mounting speculation, an FA spokesman would not confirm a deal with the Emirates had gone through.
“We remain in discussion with a number of parties in relation to FA Cup partner opportunities,” said an FA spokesman.
The FA chairman Greg Dyke – who, in March appointed United Biscuits’ CEO and former marketer Martin Glenn as chief executive officer of the sport’s governing body, with Glenn due to start his role in May – is aiming to drastically improve commercial income to refocus the football body’s commitment to grassroots football.
Budweiser, although no longer a primary sponsor, is the official beer partner of the FA Cup until 2018, while there are similar deals in place with Nike and William Hill, with the FA understood to be targeting up to six secondary sponsors alongside Emirates.
Emirates is already the sponsor of Arsenal FC’s stadium and shirts, as well as top French football club Paris Saint Germain.