Dubai-based airline Air Emirates announced it has renewed it’s contract as principal kit sponsor of AC Milan for a significant jump over their previous contract.
In a much-needed injection of future cash for the struggling Serie A club, Emirates has signed on for another five seasons worth an estimated a guaranteed $106 million (€85 million) and could reach $125 million with bonuses.
The previous deal, which was set to expire at the end of the season, was worth around $14.6 million per season.
The storied Italian club has fallen on hard times recently, finishing eighth in Serie A last season and currently in sixth this season, already 13 points off the top of the table. Italian tycoon Silvio Berlusconi has owned the club since 1986, saving it from bankrupcy upon his purchase, and vaulted them into a European power, but without European play recently, they have fallen off as a top player in the market for high-quality transfers.
“It will be a big help for the next transfer campaigns and for the future of Milan,” said AC Milan vice president Barbara Berlusconi. “We want to return to the Champions League as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Emirates used the opportunity to market the new deal in connection with an announcement that its superliner Airbus A380 will begin flights to the Milan airport.
The injection of cash could also be an opening for the Rossoneri to possibly begin plans for its own stadium. With Arsenal already using Emirates to sponsor much of its push for a new ground, Milan could do the same, and both parties seem open to the idea, according to the Associated Press report. Milan currently shares the San Siro with Inter, and Emirates president Tim Clark echoed the club’s sentiments on the possibility.
“We’ve already done it with Arsenal and it’s been a great success,” Clark said. “If there will be an auction [to sponsor a new stadium] Emirates will participate.”
Emirates has been a major player in sponsorship around the soccer world, sponsoring the kits of clubs such as Arsenal, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiacos, and Hamburg, but it did pull out of sponsorship with FIFA over controversy surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.