Los Angeles Dodgers prior to game against the Cincinnati Reds Monday, May 23,2016 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles,California. Photo by Jon SooHoo

Emirates’ cabin crew enters the Dodger Stadium ahead of Los Angeles Dodgers v. Cincinnati Reds game on Monday, May 23, 2016. Image: Jon SooHoo via Emirates

Emirates’ sponsorship of the LA Dodgers, announced in February of this year, marks the first time the airline has partnered with a team from one of the four major US professional sports leagues. With its second daily A380 service between LAX and Dubai International Airport scheduled to begin on July 1, the airline’s affiliation with one of LA’s biggest sports franchises may prove to be an effective marketing tool to promote its route network across Asia and Africa, via Dubai.

“In the event of turbulent times during the game, your hat can act as a rally cap. Turn your hat inside out and place directly on your head. Remember to always secure your rally cap first, before assisting others… “

These were the words bellowing from the loudspeakers at Dodger Stadium before the Los Angeles Dodgers faced the Cincinnati Reds on a warm Monday evening on May 23. Before the ceremonial first pitch, a group of Emirates cabin crewmembers entered the field to perform a Dodgers-themed safety demonstration to highlight the airline’s sponsorship deal with one of Major League Baseball’s biggest franchises.

The Dubai-based carrier sponsors several major European football teams, but the LA Dodgers deal, penned in February of this year, marks the first time the airline has partnered with a team from one of the four major US professional sports leagues. As part of the deal, one of Dodger Stadium’s lounges has been renovated with Emirates branding to emulate the experience of the airport lounges. Additionally, the Gulf carrier will feature in-game activations and fan appreciation activities throughout the season.

But is such sponsorship effective? According to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Promotion Management the answer is a definite yes. The results showed that the more closely an individual followed a team with an image sponsor, the more likely that person was to buy a product or service from that company.

“It’s our hope that our partnership with the Dodgers will help deepen our ties with Southern California, Dodger fans and our customers here.” — Emirates Spokesperson

“It’s our hope that our partnership with the Dodgers will help deepen our ties with Southern California, Dodger fans and our customers here,” explained a spokesperson for Emirates. “Sponsoring a great team and a sport that so many people here are passionate about, is our way of showing support for the city and community that has welcomed us [since Emirates first arrived in Los Angeles in 2008]. Baseball unifies many communities across the US and beyond. The spirit of competition and fair play, the continuous drive to excel and ability to foster a shared passion and connection with its fans – these are all values we share at Emirates.”

That Emirates’ second daily A380 service between LAX and Dubai International is scheduled to begin on July 1, just a few months after the “Fly Emirates” signage went up on the foul poles and behind home plate at Dodger Stadium, is perhaps no coincidence. The affiliation with one of the city’s biggest sports franchises may prove to be an effective marketing tool to promote its route network across Asia and Africa, via Dubai.

Read more about airlines’ sponsorship of Major League Baseball teams in the June/July issue of APEX Experience magazine.