Turkish Airlines signs sponsorship deals with FC Barcelona, Manchester United

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Turkish Airlines, one of the most powerfully developing airline in Europe, has signed two major sponsorship deals this week, with two of the best European football teams: FC Barcelona and Manchester United.

Turkish Airlines, Europe’s fourth biggest airline that joined Star Alliance as a full member almost two years ago, is developing very dynamically and aggressively by growing their fleet, launching new routes, increasing capacity and advertising on a global scale – and remaining profitable at the same time (!). They are planning for the long-term, using the Economic downturn as a possibility to order airplanes or to purchase marketing coverage and advertising space at a lower price than usual.

Almost exactly a year ago, they launched their “kick-off” global marketing campaign titled “Feel Like A Star“, where they connected their brand with the face of Academy Award winner American actor and director, Kevin Costner. The Costner Turkish Airlines ad mainly focused on the First and Business class product, but also raised brand awareness all around the world as it aired in 70 countries in 2009.

In 2010, they are moving into the sports arena. First came the news on January 18 from Barcelona, that Turkish Airlines has closed a deal with the Spanish Champion and reigning European Champion: FC Barcelona. Turkish Airlines will be the official airline of the Spanish soccer team for two and a half years, and will pay the Spanish 7.7 million Euros over this period.

According to the terms of this “Official Sponsor” sponsorship contract, all the advertising materials and logos of Turkish Airlines will be displayed on the internal screens of the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona and all other locations of the team, Turkish Airlines will make commercial films with the players of the Barcelona Club and carry out the promotion of this sponsorship deal in all the arenas of advertising and mass media. As the result of this sponsorship Turkish Airlines will transport the players of Barcelona to all the tournaments and training camps as well. This will either mean a special, ever-changing schedule of their Barcelona flights, or using a separate aircraft for this task, like a special charter plane.

The official FC Barcelona website already carries the Turkish Airlines logo in its footer.

Just a few days after FC Barcelona, Turkish Airlines announced a new partnership, with Manchester United (MU). Based on the new deal, Turkish Airlines will replace Malaysian Air Asia as the official carrier of the Manchester team, for three and a half years. According to reports, the deal is in the ballpark of a “multi-million British Pounds”, but no exact figures have been released. There is a news article about the new partnership on the official Manchester United website, but nothing else – yet. According to the news report, it will also carry the Turkish Airlines logo and link among the sponsors section of the site.

According to the contract, the same deal will be in place with MU as with FC Barcelona – all the advertising materials and logos of Turkish Airlines will be displayed on the internal screens of the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester and all other locations of the team, commercial films will be made with the players of Manchester United Club. With title of “the official sponsor of Manchester United” Turkish Airlines will transport the players of the club to the tournaments and training camps as the team’s official carrier.

Such sponsorship deals have certainly helped the awareness of Emirates for example, that is the official partner of British Arsenal FC, Italian AC Milan, French Paris Saint-Germain, German Hamburger SV as well as Greek Olympiacos CFP.

Turkish Airlines, which operates flights both from Barcelona and Manchester Airport, carried 25.1 million passengers last year. It employs more than 12,000 people, and flies to 159 destinations around the world. Given that both football teams have fans on a truly global level, the brand awareness of Turkish Airlines will certainly grow in the next few years.