The agreement between the tournament organiser of European professional club rugby and the world-renowned national airline of Turkey will run for three years until the end of the 2017/18 season.
The announcement was made today (Wednesday, 4 November) during EPCR’s Tournament Launch for the 2015/16 season at the Twickenham Stoop which was attended by key rugby and business media as well as high-profile representatives of clubs competing in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.
With its headquarters in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines is the fourth-largest carrier in the world based on the number of its destinations and also flies to more countries than any other airline.
EPCR Chairman, Simon Halliday, said: “The fact that we are joining forces with a truly global brand is great news for European club rugby. We believe that the new-look Champions Cup and Challenge Cup made great strides in the inaugural season, and now to have an ambitious, dynamic partner on board such as Turkish Airlines is a major boost for the tournaments.
“While this is the company’s first rugby sponsorship, Turkish Airlines have been associated with top-class sport for many years and we are certain that they will be a factor in broadening the base of club rugby in Europe and bringing the game to new, enthusiastic fans.”
Ilker Ayci, Chairman of Turkish Airlines, said: “We are delighted to announce our long-term sponsorship of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup. This partnership reinforces Turkish Airlines’ position as Europe’s Best Airline and demonstrates our continued commitment to sport in Europe and across the whole world.”
Turkish Airlines currently sponsors the Bundesliga club, Borussia Dortmund, and has been the title sponsor of basketball’s Turkish Airlines Euroleague since 2010. Last year, the airline became the main sponsor of Japan’s national basketball league, the Turkish Airlines BJ-league, and it is also the title sponsor of the Turkish Airlines Open on golf’s European Tour.
Turkish Airlines now join EPCR as an official partner with Heineken while EPCR’s official suppliers include Canterbury, who provide match officials kit, and Gilbert, who provide match balls.
EPCR will be making another important sponsorship announcement at its Tournament Launch for Top 14 clubs in Lyon next Monday (9 November).
The 2015/16 European club rugby season kicks off on Thursday, 12 November with the Challenge Cup meeting of Harlequins and Montpellier at the Twickenham Stoop. The Champions Cup gets underway the following evening – Friday, 13 November – when Leicester Tigers and Top 14 winners, Stade Francais Paris, clash at Welford Road.
EPCR’s 2016 finals will both be staged at the Grand Stade de Lyon with the Challenge Cup final going ahead on Friday, 13 May 2016 followed by the Champions Cup decider on Saturday, 14 May 2016.