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Emirates has agreed in principle to a five-year extension to its shirt sponsorship deal with Ligue 1 giant Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

Emirates has agreed in principle to a five-year extension to its shirt sponsorship deal with Ligue 1 giant Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

The airline’s senior vice-president, Boutros Boutros, told the Associated Press on Friday the contract should be completed this month. PSG’s Qatari owners were last year reportedly in sponsorship talks with an unnamed Qatari bank, but Boutros said the club “never went to see another company.” Dubai-based Emirates has sponsored PSG since 2006 and its current deal, reportedly worth US$5.5 million a year, is due to expire in 2014. Boutros would not disclose the value of the new contract, but with PSG’s new global profile it is likely to be significantly greater. Boutros said: “We have a new contract for a new period for the coming five years. It’s just with the lawyers. The principle has already been approved by our senior management and by the club itself.”

PSG hit the headlines again last week with the signing of former England captain David Beckham, who was a free agent after leaving Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy in December. Boutros expects the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star to be central in broadening the club’s appeal. “He’s not only valuable for the club but the French league itself because unfortunately the French league isn’t as successful as the other leagues in Europe,” he said. “Already all eyes are on PSG, now having someone like Beckham it means a lot for the club but for the football industry because it’s becoming a star in the industry.”

Emirates has used sports sponsorship, especially in football, as a key part of its commercial strategy. Arsenal in November agreed a five-year extension to its shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates worth £150 million, while the English Premier League club also sealed a seven-year extension to its stadium naming rights partnership with the airline. Boutros said football sponsorships are the best – and simplest – way to advertise the Emirates brand. “I know people criticise us, saying, ‘These guys waste money,’ but I don’t think so,” he added. “It pays off very well for us.”

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