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Thursday September 15, 2011

MAS unveils QPR deal

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has informed Bursa Malaysia that it had announced a deal with UK’s Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR) on Monday to sponsor the jerseys of the club’s players during its home matches in the Barclays Premier League (BPL) for the seasons 2011/2012 and 2012/2013. However, the cost of sponsorship was not disclosed.

MAS executive director Moham-med Rashdan Mohd Yusof said the airline was elated to be associated with QPR’s ascendancy to the Premier League and that its sponsorship of the QPR home jersey, together with AirAsia Bhd’s sponsorship of QPR’s away jerseys, was a first for the Premier League.

AirAsia had also announced its sponsorship of QPR’s away match and “third” jerseys for the same two seasons of the BPL on Monday.

Rashdan: ‘This sponsorship is the first major initiative of our new brand and marketing strategy.’

This sponsorship is considered the first in the history of professional football globally, where two airlines from the same country have teamed up to sponsor a football team. This deal is said to showcase the commitment of both airlines towards the success of their recent collaborative co-operation framework concluded.

“This sponsorship enables MAS to reinforce its global full-service presence and premium franchise via football fans and lovers from all over Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Australia and all the four corners of the world. This sponsorship is the first major initiative of our new brand and marketing strategy that would see important advertising money spent on boosting our top line. This is a key component in our drive to regain global market share, profitability and pride for the people of MAS,” Rashdan said in a media statement.

Meanwhile QPR chief executive officer Philip Beard said the new deal with the airlines was an exciting venture for the club.

“We are extremely positive about building a thriving relationship with both businesses in a bid to broaden our exposure in South-East Asia and further afield. This is a remarkable deal for the club and brings further positive news following a highly successful few weeks since the takeover,” he said.

The new home game jersey, adorned with the MAS logo, was worn for the first time at the showdown against Newcastle United at Loftus Road Stadium on Monday.

StarBiz reported yesterday quoting sources that MAS will fork out some RM18mil or £3.7mil to sponsor QPR’s home jerseys for two years.

The source added that the total two-year QPR sponsorship fee for both MAS and AirAsia would cost some RM30mil (£6.2mil).

Some 60% of the total sponsorship fee would be absorbed by MAS (as home jersey sponsorships tend to cost more) while the balance is covered by AirAsia and its related companies, which could involve sister company AirAsia X, sources disclosed.

AirAsia’s chief steward and major shareholder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and his partner, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, collectively own a 75% stake in Tune QPR Sdn Bhd, which in turn owns 66% of QPR Holdings Ltd. Fernandes, who only recently acquired the stake in the football club, is currently QPR’s chairman.

AirAsia told Bursa on Monday that it would pay QPR some £500,000 (RM2.4mil) as sponsorship fees for the duration of the two-year term.

Fernandes told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of the Forbes Global CEO Conference that branding was a powerful mechanism of growing an airline’s presence globally and airlines need to invest accordingly.

“AirAsia has grown from two planes to 100, that didn’t come by sheer luck. It came by investing in cultural and sporting activities. We branded. When you go to London now, everyone knows AirAsia. That’s very tough for a small company from Malaysia. If we continue not to brand ourselves, then we might as well allow Etihad (Airways), Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific (Airways) to be national carriers of this country. AirAsia built itself by investing in the brand. We sponsored Manchester United, F1, Oakland Raiders in the US -that’s how we built a brand,” he said.

“I’m not here to confirm or deny the numbers, we don’t even know how much it’ll be over the two years, but its a tiny investment in relation to what you want to build.”

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