In Indianapolis, Indiana, during the upcoming All-Star Game, referees of the National Basketball Association (NBA) will feature a new addition to their uniforms. A red patch with the Emirates logo will be added to the front of the referee jerseys just below the NBA logo. This is part of the new sponsorship agreement between the NBA and Emirates, a Dubai-based airline.
The Emirates logo patch will remain on the referee jerseys for at least the remainder of the 2023/24 NBA season. Neither the NBA nor Emirates have disclosed the duration of the sponsorship agreement in their respective press releases.
Starting in the 2024–25 season, the Emirates logo patch will also appear on referee jerseys in the NBA G League and from the 2025 season in the WNBA referee jerseys.
Furthermore, Emirates will be the title sponsor of the NBA season tournament, now rebranded as the Emirates NBA Cup, starting from the 2024–25 edition. The tournament will feature a new co-branded logo.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Emirates Group, expressed pride in the partnership, highlighting that this sponsorship provides a valuable addition to their portfolio by connecting with a global fanbase, particularly in the basketball-crazed United States.
Mark Tatum, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, emphasized that this collaboration will showcase the excitement of the NBA to the millions of people who fly with Emirates each year.
The sponsorship agreement calls for Emirates logos to be featured on virtual signage in arenas and on scoreboards during nationally televised NBA games. Emirates will also have a presence at major league events such as the All-Star Game, NBA Finals, and NBA Global Games. NBA content will be available through the in-flight entertainment system of Emirates, and co-branded merchandise will be available through the official Emirates Store.
Although this marks Emirates‘ first major venture into the North American market, the airline is no stranger to sports sponsorships in Europe, having been a title sponsor of the Emirates FA Cup in England and featuring on the jerseys of prominent clubs such as Real Madrid, Arsenal, Olympique Lyonnais, and AC Milan.