SportRugby

Turkish Airlines announced as official partner of European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup

RugbyBy Robbie Farrell
Ann Marie Dalton and Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines Ireland help launch the airlines partnership with European Rugby
Ann Marie Dalton and Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines Ireland help launch the airlines partnership with European Rugby

Turkish Airlines is delighted to announce that it is to become an official partner of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

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 last week 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 has 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.”

M. Ilker Ayci, Chairman of Turkish Airlines, said: “We are delighted to announce our long-term sponsorship with the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup. This partnership reinforces Turkish Airlines’ position as Europe’s Best Airline* and demonstrates our continued commitment to sport in the UK 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.

Murat Balandi, general manager, Turkish Airlines in Ireland, said he was delighted that the airline was now adding rugby, a sport very popular in Ireland, to its list of sponsorships.

“Rugby in Ireland has a huge following on a national and provincial level and becoming the official partner of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will bring the Turkish Airlines brand to a much bigger audience around the country”.

The 2015/16 European club rugby season kicks off this Thursday, November 12 with the Challenge Cup meeting of Harlequins and Montpellier at the Twickenham Stoop.

The Champions Cup gets underway on Friday November 13 – when Leicester Tigers and Top 14 winners, Stade Francais Paris, clash at Welford Road, Munster play Treviso on the 14th in Thomond Park, followed by Leinster and Wasps at the RDS on the 15th November.

EPCR’s 2016 finals will be staged at the Grand Stade de Lyon on the 13 and 14 May.