Emirates became the first global airline partner and title sponsor of the NBA Cup in February 2024, after the inaugural event—the 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament, the first edition of the NBA Cup—had already taken place with no official title sponsor. The airline will also be the first-ever referee jersey patch partner of the NBA.
However, the NBA has a long history of collaborations with many international businesses, including airlines. Several foreign companies have sponsored the league both now and in the past, including:
- Air China: The NBA’s previous official airline partner in China.
- Turkish Airlines: The NBA’s official airline partner in Europe.
- Qantas: The NBA’s former official airline in Australia.
- Etihad Airways: The NBA’s previous Middle Eastern official airline partner.
The First Co-branded Emirates NBA Cup Event
Being the inaugural title partner of the Emirates NBA Cup, the international airline will be represented by a co-branded event logo, co-branded advertising on the NBA’s global social media profiles, and in-arena signage during the Emirates NBA Cup Semifinal and Championship games beginning the following season.
Beginning with Sunday, February 18 at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT, the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, the Emirates logo will also be present on all NBA referee uniforms. The 73rd NBA All-Star Game will be held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and broadcast in 60 languages to fans throughout 214 nations and territories via television, digital media, and social media.
As the inaugural title partner of the Emirates NBA Cup, the airline will also be able to participate in other major league events thanks to the sponsorship:
- NBA Crossover, an immersive fan experience held during NBA All-Star,
- NBA Finals Legacy Project, which will see new NBA Cares Live, Learn, or Play Centers dedicated in each NBA Finals team market.
Starting with the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, Emirates branding will also be displayed during nationally televised NBA games using virtual in-arena signage and on top of the backboard.
As a partner of a few NBA Global Games during the preseason and regular season and through the league’s interactive fan events like “NBA District” and “NBA House,” Emirates aims to communicate with NBA supporters worldwide.
NBA-Emirates Branded Merchandise for Fans
Through the airline’s in-flight entertainment system, basketball fans will be able to see NBA content on all Emirates flights, including player biographies, interviews, long-form documentaries, and more. They will also have the opportunity to acquire official NBA items, such as basketballs, clothing, and vintage collectables, thanks to the marketing relationship either in-flight or online at www.emirates.store, which offers worldwide shipping, and at the official Emirates Store located at Emirates’ headquarters in Dubai. Members of Emirates Skywards can use their Miles to buy fascinating products from the assortment. NBA and Emirates will launch the co-branded line later this year.
Commencing with the 2025 season, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the NBA G League, the official minor league of the NBA, will have referees wearing jerseys with Emirates patches.
In a nutshell:
- Emirates has become the new global airline partner of the NBA.
- The airline will be the NBA Cup’s title partner and the first-ever partner of a referee jersey patch.
- Emirates will be featured on NBA broadcasts and in-arena signage as part of the agreement.
- On Emirates flights, fans can anticipate seeing NBA entertainment and items with the Emirates-NBA brand.