NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has struck a multiyear partnership deal with Emirates, one where the airline will become the title sponsor of the league’s in-season tournament — which will have a new name — and have its logo on referee jerseys in the NBA, WNBA and G League.

As part of the agreement, the in-season tournament will be renamed the Emirates NBA Cup. The trophy for this season’s inaugural tournament won by the Los Angeles Lakers was called the NBA Cup, but the event had no branded name.

NBA referees will debut the Emirates jersey patch at the All-Star Game in Indianapolis on Feb. 18, while G League officials will have the patch starting in the 2024-25 season and WNBA officials will wear it beginning with the 2025 season.

“The NBA is a valuable addition to our sponsorship portfolio as it allows us to connect with a vast global fanbase, including in the U.S., where the game is an integral part of the country’s sport culture,” Emirates Group Chairman and Chief Executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a release Thursday.

Emirates has a long history of global sports partnerships, including ones at soccer, tennis, golf, rugby, horse racing and other events. It has been a global partner of Real Madrid since 2011, has deals with AC Milan and Arsenal, plus has been a presenting sponsor of tennis’ U.S. Open since 2012 and numerous other pro tennis events.

With the NBA, Emirates will be part of marquee league events such as NBA Crossover — part of All-Star weekend — and the NBA Finals Legacy Project, which brings educational investment in the team markets of the teams that play in the title series each year. Emirates will also get branding through virtual in-arena signage and atop backboard during nationally televised NBA games.

The airline also will offer inflight NBA content on all flights, including long-form documentaries, player profiles and interviews.

“As basketball continues to be recognized as the fastest growing sport globally, this collaboration will showcase the excitement of the NBA to the millions of people who fly Emirates every year,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said.



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