Dubai-based carrier Emirates has announced a multiyear global marketing partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA), making the airline the Official Global Airline Partner of the NBA.

Additionally, the collaboration makes Emirates the inaugural title partner of the NBA Cup, previously named the NBA In-Season Tournament, as well as the first-ever referee jersey patch partner of the NBA.

As the first title partner of the Emirates NBA Cup, the airline will be featured through a co-branded Emirates NBA Cup event logo, with co-branded promotion planned across the NBA’s global social media community and in-arena signage throughout the Emirates NBA Cup Semifinal and Championship games starting next season.

The Emirates logo will also be featured on all NBA referee jerseys, starting with the 2024 NBA All-Star Game taking place on Sunday, 18 February.

Emirates will also enjoy a presence at other marquee league events including as a partner of NBA Crossover and as the presenting partner of the NBA Finals Legacy Project. Emirates branding will also be visible through virtual in-arena signage and on top of the backboard during nationally televised NBA games, beginning with the 2024 NBA All-Star Game.

Emirates will be a partner of select preseason and regular-season NBA Global Games and engage with fans through the league’s interactive fan events including “NBA District” and “NBA House.”

NBA content will also be available on all Emirates flights via the airline’s inflight entertainment system, including long-form documentaries, player profiles, interviews and more.

The marketing partnership will also allow basketball fans to purchase a wide range of official NBA merchandise, including basketballs, sportswear and vintage collectibles, with co-branded collaborations to follow later this year.

The merchandise will be sold at the official Emirates Store at Emirates’ headquarters in Dubai and on the airline’s website, with deliveries fulfilled worldwide.

Emirates’ patch will also be featured on the jerseys for all referees in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), beginning with the 2025 season, and NBA G League, the official minor league of the NBA, beginning with the 2024-25 season.

“We are proud to establish a global marketing partnership with the National Basketball Association to become its Official Global Airline Partner,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Group chairman and chief executive. “This collaboration will also see Emirates become the league’s first referee jersey patch partner and the inaugural title partner of the NBA Cup. The NBA is a valuable addition to our sponsorship portfolio as it allows us to connect with a vast global fanbase, including in the US, where the game is an integral part of the country’s sports culture.”

On the same day that Emirates announced its partnership with the NBA, another UAE carrier – Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways – also revealed its own sports sponsorship agreement. Etihad said that it is now official sponsor for the Chennai Super Kings cricket team.

Beyond the UAE, a major sports sponsorship deal was announced by Qatar Airways last year when it said that had become the Global Partner and Official Airline of Formula 1 in a five-year deal that will see it retain that position through to the 2027 season.